CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As 11 health districts in Virginia begin to vaccinate folks against the coronavirus under Phase 1B, the Blue Ridge Health District and others are still focusing on vaccinating Phase 1A individuals.
“First we need more staff, we need more resources. We are building our sites throughout the district. Funding is a limitation, as well, but we are working very quickly to vaccinate more individuals,” BRHD Spokesperson Kathryn Goodman said.
BRHD says it is working around the clock to get people who qualify under Phase 1A vaccinated.
“We are currently vaccinating all individuals who fall into Phase 1A. This is frontline healthcare workers and people working in direct-patient care. We will soon be moving into Phase 1B, and we will provide that information in the coming week,” Goodman said.
Phase 1B of the vaccine includes frontline essential workers, people 75 years and older, as well as folks residing in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant camps. There is a survey on BRHD’s website for employers to fill out if they their employees fall under this phase. There is also a survey for individuals to fill out if they’re 75 years or older living in the district or living/coordinating services for those in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, or migrant labor camps. These surveys will help BRHD determine how many people will need a vaccine in the next phase.
However, before the health department can move to the next phase, it needs to hire more staff.
“We are working hard to hire more registered nurses who can be COVID-19 vaccinators. This will really help us increase all of our capacity to offer more vaccine clinics throughout,” Goodman said. “Anyone who wants to apply to be a registered nurse to administer COVID vaccines through the health department can do so by visiting our website.”
BRHD has recently tripled the amount of clinics in the district as it tries to vaccinate more people each day.
“This week we have clinics happening in Fluvanna, Louisa, and Nelson counties, and we will continue to grow and expand throughout the health district and hopefully adding more sites in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area as well,” Goodman said.
If you’re wondering which COVID-19 vaccine phase you fall under, there is now an easy way to find out: “The Virginia Department of Health released a quiz recently where individuals can fill out a brief quiz to see which phase they fall in for vaccine distribution,” Goodman said.
With the vaccine giving many people hope, Goodman says there’s still reason to be concerned with a percent positivity rate sitting at 10%.
“Our COVID case numbers are the highest in our district that they have been to date. We are certainly very worried about the community spread that’s happening even as individuals start to get vaccinated. There are still many more people that need to be vaccinated,” Goodman said.