RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam not only issued a reminder that all Virginians age 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting Sunday, but he also announced approximately half of all adults in the Commonwealth have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Northam shared a new video message encouraging Virginians to call the statewide call center or use the new Vaccinate Virginia website to find vaccine providers starting Sunday, April 18.
Virginia’s eligibility expansion comes ahead of a nationwide goal set by President Joe Biden that all adults be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by Monday, April 19.
“Over the past few months, we have made tremendous progress vaccinating Virginians as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible, and we need to keep up the good work,” Northam said. “With COVID-19 cases on the rise in many parts of Virginia and across the country, it is important that everyone has an opportunity to make a vaccination appointment. If you are over 16 and want to get the safe, effective, and free vaccine, please make a plan to get your shot. The more people who get vaccinated, the faster we can end this pandemic and get back to our normal lives.”
Despite this move into Phase 2, officials say appointments will still be required for most vaccinations.
Starting Sunday, Virginians will be able to find and schedule appointments directly through the online Vaccinate Virginia vaccine system — which offers a map-based tool to find appointments at Community Vaccination Centers, local health departments, pharmacies, and hospitals — or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1).
Since demand for the vaccine is expected to keep outpacing supply in parts of the Commonwealth, officials say Virginians who want to be vaccinated may have to wait for an appointment.
If you were eligible under Phase 1 of vaccination and cannot find an appointment, you are asked to pre-register for a priority appointment at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA.
The Northam Administration reportedly expects all Virginians who want a vaccine will be able to receive at least their first dose by the end of May.
Keep in mind, though, that while the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for individuals ages 16 and up, the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only approved for ages 18 and up.
As of Friday, April 16, the governor’s office says more than 5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Virginia, with approximately half of the adult population having received at least one dose and one in five Virginians fully vaccinated.
“The Commonwealth continues to work with a statewide network of providers and partners to distribute and administer doses as quickly as they are provided by the federal government,” Northam’s office said in Friday’s statement. “Virginia has focused on equity throughout its vaccination program by providing targeted resources in multiple languages, scheduling clinics in collaboration with community partners, performing grassroots outreach to drive pre-registration and scheduling, and implementing large, state-run Community Vaccination Centers in areas with vulnerable populations. These efforts will continue with expanded eligibility in Phase 2.”
All COVID-19 vaccines are reportedly free, regardless of health insurance or immigration status.
Assistance with vaccine questions or appointments is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages. Videoconferencing in American Sign Language is also being offered via videophone at 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) or online by clicking the “ASL Now” button at vaccinate.virginia.gov.