VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — On Thursday, the City of Virginia Beach shared good news for vaccine seekers: the city's health department will move to Phase 1b of coronavirus vaccinations beginning Monday.
That means people with high-risk health conditions, certain frontline essential workers, and anyone who is 65 or older will be able to get vaccinated at health department vaccine clinics.
If you want to see if you're eligible for Phase 1b, you can use the Virginia Department of Health's online tool, here.
They don't have enough doses for the general public yet, so eligible people will have to register to get the vaccine through an online portal, which goes live on Monday.
The portal works best in a Chrome browser, and people who are registering for a vaccine will need a working email address. Once pre-registered, the system will send people a link to schedule their vaccines.
For pre-registration help, call the Virginia Beach citizen assistance number, 757-385-3111.
Health Department officials have vaccinated 5,300 healthcare workers out of about 7,000 in Phase 1a. Emergency Community Coordinator Bob Engle said 1b will take two months to complete.
“Within Tier 1b, there is approximately 120,000 people,” Engle said.
Officials got a head start this week on school staff and public safety workers this week.
“We had the availability; we did not want to waste those slots,” Engle said.
Engle said about 7,000 Virginia Beach Public School teachers and 600 private school teachers are signed up so far in Phase 1b.
“We have clinics on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday scheduled,” Engle said. “Each day we are going to do 3,000 vaccinations.”
They won’t stop there.
“Our max capacity goal would be to do about 4,800 people a day, with bringing in a lot of resources,” said EMS Chief Ed Brazle.
Of course, that goal relies on vaccine supply.
“And that fixed supply has to be allocated across the entire state,” said Dr. Demetria Lindsay.
Dr. Lindsay, who is the Health Department Director in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, said operating in phases makes the distribution equitable.
“I understand that people want to get access to this vaccine as soon as possible, but we have to work within those parameters,” Dr. Lindsay said.
"There is high demand for the vaccine and we are taking every measure to safely and effectively distribute it as quickly as possible to aid in the mitigation of COVID-19,” Mayor Bobby Dyer wrote in a release.
Dr. Lindsay urged people who weren't yet eligible to be patient and stay vigilant through the process.
“While the vaccine brings us steps closer to ending this pandemic, it will still be months before it is widely available to the general public,” Lindsay wrote. “Continuing to adhere to COVID-19 prevention practices remains very important as we work our way through the vaccination process.”
Here's a general list of people who can get the vaccine in Phase 1b:
- Anyone aged 65 or older
- people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters or migrant labor camps
- people between the ages of 16 and 64, who have an increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions
- police, fire and hazmat workers
- corrections and homeless shelter workers
- childcare/K-12 teachers/staff (public and private)
- Food and agriculture (including veterinarians)
- Manufacturing workers
- Grocery store workers
- Public transit workers
- Mail carriers (USPS and private)
- Public-facing government workers (judges, etc.)