NORFOLK, Va. — As Hampton Roads communities enter Phase 1b of Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, people ages 65 and up are now eligible to be vaccinated.
Health districts are recommending eligible people pre-register online with a valid email address. But what does this mean for people -- particularly seniors -- who are not tech-savvy or have internet readily available?
Norfolk and Virginia Beach offered vaccinations to people eligible in Phase 1b on Monday, while Portsmouth is scheduled to begin Tuesday. The Chesapeake, Hampton, and Peninsula health districts entered the phase last week.
Nearly one-third (28%) of Americans over 65 years old live alone, according to a 2017 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
According to Pew, the percentage of seniors using internet services grew from 14 percent in 2000 to 73 percent in 2017. However, at the time, only a quarter said they felt confident about using electronics to go online.
So, what if that is you or your loved one?
In Virginia Beach, a city spokesperson advised people to call “3-1-1” within city limits with any questions and for assistance with pre-registration. Callers from outside the city limits can dial (757) 385-3111 to reach Citizen Services, according to a release by the city last week.
A Virginia Beach Citizen Services representative told 13News Now callers will be asked to provide their name, address, age, and phone number, and that information can be provided to the Virginia Department of Health to pre-register their appointment.
The 3-1-1 number is open and available 24/7, but representatives are experiencing high call volume. It may take a while to get someone on the phone.
Other cities in Hampton Roads offer support over the phone, including the following:
- Norfolk: 757-664-SHOT (7468), hours of operation, M-F 8a-4p
- Hampton and Peninsula Health Districts: 757-594-7496
- Suffolk: 757-514-4781
- Isle of Wight: 757-279-3070
- Franklin: 757-562-6109
- Southampton: 757-653-3040