The Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD) announced it’s working with community partners to ensure a smooth a transition into Phase 1b, which started Monday.
RCAHD is focused on the prioritization strategies as outlined by the governor and as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and adopted by Virginia Disaster Medical Advisory Committee and the Vaccine Advisory Workgroup.
More information about who is eligible and what phase Virginia is in at any given time is posted at www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/. Community members can best stay informed through the media, on our website and Facebook pages, and by visiting VDH’s FAQs at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-faq/.
“It will take time, patience, and flexibility for everyone who is in Phase 1b and who wants the COVID-19 vaccine to be able to receive it. This will not happen overnight. There is a great deal of planning and logistical work that still needs to be done to ensure that not only are we optimizing how many vaccines we can get into the arms of Virginians in our health districts, but that we are doing so in a way that ensures that health equity among those who are eligible to receive the vaccine. Because of differences in jurisdictions within our health districts, some areas may move into Phase 1b faster than others,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, RCAHD Health Director.
In December 2020, RCAHD began offering closed “point of dispensing” (POD) COVID-19 vaccination clinics specifically for “Phase 1a” priority groups which includes healthcare personnel with direct contact or a high risk of contact with COVID positive patients. Phase 1a also includes long-term care residents and staff who are being vaccinated through a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens. There is an intentional overlap between Phases 1a and 1b. Many more local healthcare personnel are scheduled to be vaccinated next week and health care providers who have not yet scheduled their appointment will be provided the opportunity to do so.
Virginians who do not fall into these early priority categories will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when it is more widely available. Once the vaccine is rolled out to the general public, distribution will be similar to the flu vaccine. While we do not yet know the specifics of logistics, we expect that as they are eligible, the general public will be able to get the vaccine from a local pharmacy, primary care physician, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)/free clinic, local health department or other clinics that are participating as a COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider.
While these vaccines are a light at the end of the tunnel, now is not the time to let down our guard. Everyone needs to continue to implement all community mitigation strategies including wearing a mask, physical distancing, and frequent hand hygiene.
VDH Vaccine Information: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/
Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Departments: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/roanoke/covid-19-rcahd-local-data-resources/
Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Departments COVID Vaccine site (includes health care provider registration instructions): https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/roanoke/covid-vaccine/
Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Departments social media page: https://www.facebook.com/RoanokeCityAlleghanyHealthDistricts