CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Department of Health is now telling everyone who is pre-registered for a vaccine to update their information as soon as possible. If you don’t, your vaccine appointment may be delayed.
Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s vaccine coordinator, told NBC29 in an interview that the change is necessary as more groups become eligible for the vaccine.
“It will give them an opportunity to confirm that they are in the system, but they can update their address info if they’ve moved, they can update anything else about their status that might change them from a 1B to a 1A, or a 1C to a 1B,” Avula said. “There are some data fields where they didn’t necessarily have the option to put in all the relevant information, and then in other cases, the relevant cases have changed. For example, clergy are now a part of 1B, where they weren’t several weeks ago.”
Updates must be done online or by calling 1-877-VAX-IN-VA. Changes will not cause someone to lose their place in line.
“They will maintain the oldest time-stamp associated with their record,” Avula confirmed.
Dr. Avula said VDH is still trying to address issues with PrepMod, the current appointment registration system. He said a new system could be ready to use as soon as next week.
“We’ve really struggled to find what are the ways we can operate with that system and so our VDH IT system has built an appointment and scheduling system that we are currently in testing mode, we’re going to work through the weekend and see if we can roll that out, either in conjunction with PrepMod or to move it independently,” Avula said.
He’s also reminding people that someone may be able to get an appointment fast than others, based on different group-specific clinics or vaccine events hosted by different health districts.
“It’s not like waiting in a linear line because we really are ultra focused by their risk. So that’s why a lot of attention in the early days were focused on healthcare workers and long term care facilities and staff because they were at higher risk of contracting COVID and having very severe consequences,” Avula explained. “Being in line doesn’t necessarily mean that if you’re fifth in line or tenth in line that you’ll be the fifth or tenth person to get vaccinated, because so many of these events are contextualized or curated for certain risk groups.”
Dr. Avula said people waiting for an appointment should try to answer any phone call they get, even if they do not recognize the number. If you miss your phone call from VDH to schedule your vaccine appointment, you will not lose your place in line, but will be contacted for the next available appointment slot.
He also cautioned those awaiting their shot to be wary of scammers trying to ask for money, saying that the vaccine is free for everyone. In some cases, a question of insurance may arise, but Avula confirmed that insurance, or lack of, does not impact your ability to get a vaccine.