VIRGINIA, USA — Health districts and school systems in northern Virginia are preparing to start vaccinating group 1b Monday after the state authorized the move last week.
The Virginia Health Department (VDH) announced Friday that 11 health districts in the state can move into this next vaccination phase starting January 11, many of which are in northern Virginia:
- Cumberland Plateau
- Lord Fairfax
- Mount Rogers
- New River
- Prince William
- Roanoke City/Alleghany
According to the VDH, group 1b includes frontline essential workers, people aged 75 and older, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps.
The health department published the following breakdown of frontline essential workers, in order of who should be vaccinated first:
- Police, Fire, and Hazmat
- Corrections and homeless shelter workers
- Childcare/PreK-12 Teachers/Staff
- Food and Agriculture (including Veterinarians)
- Grocery store workers
- Public transit workers
- Mail carriers (USPS and private)
- Officials needed to maintain continuity of government
WUSA 9 reached out to each health department and major school system in northern Virginia to find out their plans Sunday. Most supposed details are still being worked out, but here is the information available per locality.
A spokesperson for Alexandria said they are trying to coordinate vaccinations with employers and have a form available online for businesses to sign up for doses for their employees. The city said beginning Monday, the city will begin sending invitations for vaccine appointments to the businesses that have submitted forms. Eligible individuals not affiliated with a business, like people over the age of 75 can also use the form to sign up.
The spokesperson recommended that individuals contact their employer to find out if they have submitted a form for vaccinations.
For other information on the COVID vaccine in Alexandria, people can call the COVID info line at 703-746-4988.
Alexandria City Public Schools:
Information from a school district spokesperson:
"All 2,900+ staff members have been sent a link via their ACPS email account to register and sign up for an appointment to receive the vaccination at T.C. Williams High School starting Tuesday at 5 p.m. For more information, please refer to the message and details included in Friday's ACPS Insider at www.acpsk12.org/staff/mondays-are-decision-days-for-phased-reentry-plans/."
A spokesperson for the county said they will begin their next phase of vaccinations on Monday, as one of the districts identified by the VDH.
The county said Arlington Healthcare Personnel in Priority Group 1a, individuals in Priority Groups 1b and 1c, and Employers of Frontline Essential Workers in Priority Groups 1a, 1b and 1c can pre-register for vaccination on the County website now: https://www.arlingtonva.us/covid-19/vaccines/registration/. Arlington has partnered with Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) for residents over the age of 75 – they can schedule appointments at the VHC website: https://www.virginiahospitalcenter.com/patients-visitors/safe-care-with-us/covidvaccine/.
The Arlington Free Clinic distributed its first doses of phase 1b Monday to about 50 seniors 75 and older. The president of the clinic said they serve lower income parts of the community, often those who are essential workers and have been hit the hardest by COVID.
“This is just the beginning of the light at the end of what’s been a long dark tunnel for our patients," said the clinic president, Nancy White. "The virus has really affected the patients that we serve so disproportionately, so we’re just very excited.”
Per the county's blog, it will start scheduling vaccine appointments for people in priority group 1b on Monday.
Adults age 75 and older can call the Health Department’s vaccine hotline at 703-324-7404 (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to register for an appointment, beginning Monday, Jan. 11.
"More details will be available on the Health Department webpage next week, including the option of using an online form to schedule appointments. The ability to schedule appointments will depend on the supply of vaccine available," according to the county's blog.
Closed vaccination clinics will begin for police, fire and hazmat, corrections, and homeless shelter workers in the order the state outlined above, according to the health department. The blog says that appointments for the next groups in line will be announced in the future.
The Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent announced Sunday evening that the vaccine will be available to FCPS staff starting as early as Saturday, January 16th in the following statement:
"The FCHD has partnered with Inova to vaccinate an estimated 40,000 teachers and staff of public and private schools and childcare programs across the Fairfax Health District. The FCHD is finalizing the logistics with Inova and is collaborating with FCPS on an implementation plan to accomplish this within the next three weeks, as vaccine supplies permit.
We will be working closely with FCHD and Inova to provide all FCPS staff wishing to receive the vaccine with the opportunity to access it through this comprehensive vaccination effort.
I encourage all staff to familiarize yourselves with information about the vaccine by viewing COVID-19 Vaccine Information from the Fairfax County Health Department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here. These sites contain the most current health information and can answer many of your questions or concerns.
FCPS will work with Human Resources and our health team to provide additional information, including registration details, for you this week and we will share those as soon as possible.
Please wait for specific registration information for FCPS personnel. Currently, there are registration links on the Inova website, however those are reserved for 1a workers (health care professionals).
More specific information regarding 1b workers is available on the governor’s website here.
The availability of this vaccine for our staff, coupled with implementation of the five key mitigation strategies, strengthens our ability to gradually return to in-person instruction. Hope and help are now truly on the way."
From a county spokesperson:
"Loudoun will begin moving into 1b later this week. Our Health Department has been working to stand up the process for vaccinating the priority groups within Phase 1b, which first includes public safety personnel. More detail about VDH’s priority order of 1b is here."
He expects to publish more information on the vaccine schedule Monday.
Prince William County:
Health director for the Prince William Health District, Dr. Alison Ansher, said they began vaccinating police, including state police and the FBI, and reaching out to seniors 75 and older Monday.
She said next they'll move to workers at homeless shelters and employees and inmates at correctional facilities, beginning with those with longer sentences, since they can ensure they'll be able to give them a second dose.
Dr. Ansher said they're coordinating with multiple vaccination partners to distribute the vaccine, including regional hospitals, clinics, family practices, George Mason University, and working with pharmacies to set up larger "point dispensing clinics."
"It's a tremendous, tremendous undertaking," Dr. Ansher said.
She said the biggest challenge is public health infrastructure.
"We have over half a million residents, and I have less than 100 employees, so the infrastructure of public health is not what It needs to be. I think…we’re seeing pandemics happen more frequently, so I think we need to think about that," she said. "Often we have lessons learned, but don’t make changes.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.