As COVID-19 vaccinations have begun for emergency medical service providers and non-hospital health care workers, the Blue Ridge Health District is looking ahead to the next phase of the vaccine rollout.
In priority groups 1b and 1c, essential workers, first responders and other groups will be able to receive the vaccine. Currently, the state is administering doses to frontline health care workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities, though the latter group is being handled by CVS and Walgreens through a federal partnership.
To prepare for phase 1b, which is expected to start in early spring, the health district released two surveys to build a list of businesses and individuals requesting a vaccine, according to a health district newsletter. For essential workers, district staff members are planning to schedule vaccine appointments through employers, as they are doing during this current phase.
Business owners and managers in Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson who employ essential employees should complete the online survey to be placed on the health district’s list.
Essential employees in 1b include first responders, K-12 teachers and child care staff, grocery store workers, mail carriers and other groups.
Additionally, people 75 and older and those living in or coordinating services for people in a correctional facility, homeless shelter or migrant labor camp can receive the vaccine during phase 1b. Those people should fill out an online survey to be placed on the list.
More information is available at vdh.virginia.gov/blue-ridge/covid-19-vaccination.
So far, 6,579 doses of the vaccine have been given in the health district, according to a state dashboard. That’s 2,235 more doses reported since Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the district started vaccinating people from its new facility in the parking lot of the former Kmart in Charlottesville. Currently, there are about 200 appointment slots a day, though district officials are hoping to increase that number.
The facility is open by appointment only, and those appointments are made through employers. Health care providers who want their staff to be vaccinated should fill out the survey on the district website.
Phase 1c is expected to start in late spring, according to the newsletter. After those priority groups, the vaccine will be opened up to the general public.