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Picking up steam: More people are becoming eligible for vaccine in Hampton Roads

Chesapeake moves to Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination plan. Virginia Beach transitions to Phase 1c, but need people to pre-register.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — More people are about to get vaccinated in Virginia. 

Health districts in Hampton Roads are moving into new phases of the COVID-19 vaccination plan, and Governor Ralph Northam unveiled when all adults should expect to be able to book an appointment. 

“It’s moving fast now," said Bob Engle, Virginia Beach Health Department Emergency Coordinator. 

As of Thursday, Virginia Beach is inviting people who are pre-registered in Phase 1c and to schedule appointments. The group includes people who work in the food industry, hairstylists, construction, higher education, and several other industries. A full list of Phase 1c eligibility can be found here.

Up to 100,000 people have received at least their first dose at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, said Engle. 

“If you’re not in [Phase] 1c but you will be in Phase 2, we want you to go and register in the portal because we do not think we will be in 1c very long," he said. 

Governor Ralph Northam announced Virginians in Phase 2, or all people ages 16 and up, will be able to book an appointment by April 18.

“Here in Virginia Beach we expect we will go to Phase 2 much sooner than that," said Engle. 

The Virginia Department of Health website reads some areas will begin inviting pre-registered people in Phase 2 on April 4.

But Chesapeake did not wait.

The region became the first in Hampton Roads to move to Phase 2 on Thursday. 

“There’s more opportunity for people to get vaccinated and that’s a good thing," said Engle. 

Back in Virginia Beach, Engle said there is a problem, though. They’re expecting 12,000 first-dose appointments next week, but only 6,000 people in Phase 1c in Virginia Beach have pre-registered for the vaccine. 

So if those spots are not filled, Virginia Beach will also expedite its Phase 2 date. 

Engle stressed the importance of people pre-registering with the VDH COVID-19 vaccination portal. 

People eligible under  Phases 1a or 1b can still register for the vaccine. Engle said if you fall under these categories, have preregistered, and have not received an email invitation from the CDC or health department -- you should email vaccinatevb@vdh.virginia.gov