UPDATE: West Piedmont, Central Virginia Health Districts enter vaccination Phase 1b, but available doses in short supply

Coronavirus
(Photo: Courtesy Lisa Ferdinando/DoD/CC BY 2.0 via MGN Online)

(Photo: Courtesy Lisa Ferdinando/DoD/CC BY 2.0 via MGN Online)

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: Just like with the West Piedmont Health District, the Central Virginia Health District entered vaccination Phase 1b on Wednesday, but an imbalance between supply and demand leaves the timeline for vaccine administration uncertain.

“We are working on as many alternatives as possible to make the vaccine available,” said Dr. Kerry
Gateley, health director of the Central Virginia Health District, which covers Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell counties, as well as Lynchburg. “The health district will continue to request COVID-19 vaccine weekly, but how many doses will be received remains uncertain. We ask for patience as we gather more information about how much vaccine we can anticipate in the weeks to come.”

Once the vaccine is available, the same groups eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1b in the West Piedmont Health District will be able to receive it in the Central Virginia Health District, but the wait time between pre-registration and vaccination may be significant depending on the vaccine supply.

“We ask for the public’s patience,” Gateley said. “This is a huge undertaking, and our staff and partners are working diligently to make the vaccination process as smooth as possible.”

Residents who wish to be vaccinated in Phase 1b are asked to follow this link, click “Pre-Register for the Vaccine” to verify your eligibility, and complete the pre-registration form. If you cannot complete the form online, you can contact the CVHD Call Center at (434) 477-5965.

Meanwhile, any businesses that have employees eligible for Phase 1b and that may have a representative are instructed to call the CVHD Call Center to complete preregistration as a worksite.

For the latest developments on vaccine distribution efforts in central Virginia, visit the health district’s website or Facebook page.

(WFXR) — The West Piedmont Health District officially entered Phase 1b for coronavirus vaccination on Wednesday, but the demand for these doses — both locally and statewide — is outweighing the supply provided to the Commonwealth by the federal government.

“We are working on as many alternatives as possible to make the vaccine available,” said Dr. Kerry Gateley, director of the West Piedmont Health District, which covers Franklin, Henry, and Patrick counties, as well as Martinsville. “The health district will continue to request COVID-19 vaccine weekly, but how many doses actually will be received is uncertain. We ask for patience as we gather more information about how much vaccine we can anticipate in the weeks to come.”

Once the vaccine is available, health officials say include police, firefighters, teachers, mail carriers, and other essential workers who make sure government operations are able to continue will be eligible to receive it.

In addition, Phase 1b reportedly encompasses anyone age 65 or over, and anyone between the ages of 16 and 64 with a documented medical condition putting you at risk of severe infection.

The health district says people who qualify for the vaccine will be notified of the time and place they will be vaccinated, but they might have to wait a significant amount of time until the vaccine supply increases.

“Many Phase 1b recipients will get their vaccine through their workplace and do not need to seek vaccine independently,” Gateley said.

The West Piedmont Health District posted the following statement on Facebook on Tuesday, Jan. 19:

The West Piedmont Health District is currently awaiting a supply of vaccine, and no vaccine appointments are being taken at this time. If you are in group 1b — frontline personnel who are required to perform vital public functions, like firefighters and teachers or age 65 and over, you will have the opportunity to add your name to a list. Phone numbers and web links currently are being developed and will be shared here, on the West Piedmont Health District Facebook page, and on the West Piedmont Health District website next week.

You may also seek vaccination from your local healthcare system or pharmacy, but they are experiencing the same statewide vaccine shortage.

This is a frustrating time for us all. We are working very hard to obtain as much vaccine as possible. Your patience is much appreciated.

Due to an abundance of phone calls, emails and messages we may not be as prompt as usual in answering your questions. Apologies.

West Piedmont Health District

Gateley says that many community partners are working together to ensure that vaccines are available. For example, Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital and Sovah Health – Martinsville have reportedly been administering the vaccine to Phase 1a personnel since the first phase.

“In the meantime, it is important to remain vigilant in COVID-19 prevention,” the West Piedmont Health District said in a statement released on Wednesday, Jan. 20. “Continue to protect yourself and others: cover your mouth and nose with a mask, wash your hands often and well, stay at least six feet away from others, avoid gatherings with anyone who is not a member of your household and get a flu shot.”

For more information about the vaccine and when it will be available locally, you can check out the West Piedmont Health District’s website and Facebook page, as well as the recorded message on phone lines at each of the following health departments:

  • Franklin County Health Department: (540) 484-0292
  • Henry Martinsville Health Department: (276) 638-2311
  • Patrick County Health Department: (275) 639-2070

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