Beginning Wednesday, January 13, the Virginia Department of Health’s  Eastern Shore Health District (ESHD), in partnership with Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. (ESRHS) and Riverside Medical Group (Riverside), will begin to provide COVID-19 vaccines to additional groups of recipients identified as “Phase 1b.” These include police, fire and hazmat response personnel, those 75 or over, childcare/K-12 teachers and staff, those living and working in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps, food, agriculture and aquaculture workers, manufacturers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and mail carriers (USPS and private).

“We have nearly completed the first round of Phase 1a vaccinations. We will now be focusing on Phase 1b, prioritizing those at highest risk for negative health outcomes and members of our community with the highest risk of exposure,” said Chief Operating Officer Jon Richardson, of the Eastern Shore Health District.  

Many Phase 1b recipients will get their vaccine through clinics where they work or live and do not need to seek vaccine independently. For those age 75 and over, please contact your primary care provider to schedule an appointment to receive your vaccine. If you are 75 years of age or over and do not have a primary care provider, ESRHS will give you a vaccine. ESRHS will start making appointments today, Wednesday, January 13, 2021 and Riverside will start making appointments on Thursday, January, 14, 2021. Over the next several weeks, ESHD will be contacting smaller and independent businesses and anyone NOT affiliated with a clinic at work or where they live and in Phase 1b to set one up for you.  

For many weeks now, ESHD has been collaborating with our partners at Riverside and ESRHS to deliver vaccines to the Eastern Shore community. That work will continue as we strive to get vaccines administered as quickly and safely as possible. We anticipate it will take several weeks to work our way through vaccinating Phase1b individuals while simultaneously administering the second dose to 1a individuals.  

If you are an individual who falls into one of the Phase 1b groups identified by type of employment, please seek information from your employer for your vaccination plan. Employers falling into 1b who do not have a plan in place yet for your employees and have not heard from ESHD may contact us at 757-787-5880 to coordinate a vaccination clinic for your employees. 

Receiving the vaccine for COVID-19 does not mean life goes back to pre-pandemic times. It is still extremely important to wear a mask, social distance and practice good hand hygiene. Even after receiving the vaccine, it will remain important to continue masking, maintaining social distancing and avoiding crowded areas until we see case counts drop in the coming months and public health authorities indicate it is safe to relax protective measures.

We ask that you be patient with us as we work through the priority groups and get to each person who desires vaccination as soon as possible; we are devoting every available resource to this effort.  We are aware of the announcement yesterday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and those recommendations are currently under review at the state level.

For more information about Virginia’s Phase 1b COVID-19 vaccination efforts, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/

 

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