Central Shenandoah Health District moves into Phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccination distribution

Central Shenandoah Health District moves into Phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccination distribution
A provider with Augusta Health administers a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. (FILE) (Source: Courtesy of Augusta Health)

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WVIR) - The Central Shenandoah Health District announced on Monday night it has expanded COVID-19 vaccination to those who fall into the Phase 1b category.

The health department announced it will have closed “point of dispensing” COVID-19 vaccination clinics for those in priority groups of Phase 1b.  According to the Virginia Department of Health, Phase 1b is the second group eligible to receive the vaccine and includes certain groups of essential workers, like first responders and teachers.

Spokeswoman Laura Lee Wight with the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) said VDH has been reaching out to employers of those in the priority groups.

At this time, there is no registration availability to get the vaccine. Right now, the health district is gathering information from those who fall under Phase 1b and will inform them of when a vaccine will be available for them to schedule an appointment which is expected in the coming weeks.

The Central Shenandoah Health District is made up of Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Lexington, Buena Vista City and the counties of Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge and Rockingham.

Phase 1b

According to CSHD, vaccinations efforts for this group will begin the week of January 25.

VDH said those individuals in this group of Phase 1b will be required to bring a personal form of identification such as a driver’s license, and may also be asked to show proof of qualification, such as a work ID, in order to verify eligibility .

Phase 1b includes police, fire and hazmat response personnel, those living and working in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps, childcare/K-12 teachers and staff, food and agriculture workers, manufacturers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, mail carriers (USPS and private) and anyone age 65 or over.

The health district said it’s working with healthcare partners, such as hospital systems, federally qualified health centers and 10 local pharmacies to start vaccinating persons 65-years-old and up.

“Given the limited supply of vaccines currently available, health department sponsored PODs and vaccine distribution by community partners will be by appointment only at this time,” read a statement by the Central Shenandoah Health District.

Essential workers who want to get the vaccine or have questions should e-mail cshd_esf8@vdh.virginia.gov.

Any persons who are age 65 or older can email cshdinfo@vdh.virginia.gov to receive a secure survey to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available or call their local health district office.

Once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, the health department will reach out to individuals who signed up with instructions on how to register and make an appointment.

“We are pleased to provide a safe and effective vaccine to individuals in Phase 1b,” said CSHD Health District Director Dr. Laura Kornegay. “We will continue our Phase 1b vaccination efforts throughout the month of February, and we’ll update the public on our progress with reaching this group and advancing into the next phase. While the vaccine provides hope on the horizon, it will still be months before the vaccine is widely available publicly. It’s important to remember we are still very much in the trenches of this pandemic and we must continue to adhere to COVID-19 prevention practices, including mask wearing, washing hands and socially distancing.”

The CSHD anticipates as the availability of the vaccine increases, they will move into other phases. Phase 1c will include other essential workers, according to the release. It will continue to work with local healthcare partners to provide vaccine availability to those who are in Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Which phase do I fall under?

The complete definitions of all phases, data and other information are on VDH’s Vaccine Response website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/.

You can also take this brief quiz to find out which vaccination phase you fall under by clicking here.

Virginians who do not fall into a priority phase will be offered the vaccine when it is more widely available. According to CSHD, the distribution will be similar to that of a flu shot where you will be able to get it from a local pharmacy, primary care physician, free clinic, local health department or other clinics participating as a COVID-19 vaccination program provider.

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