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Local COVID-19 vaccination updates

Do you have any local questions about the COVID-19 vaccination rollout? Contact Jessie Higgins at jhiggins@; visit our Facebook page; or send us a direct message on Twitter @cvilletomorrow. 

We will update this page with new developments.

UPDATE: CVS plans to open appointments Feb. 11. Here’s what we know:

Appointments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a Charlottesville CVS store are set to open Thursday, with “shots in arm” beginning Friday. Only individuals who are 65 and older, and have registered to receive a vaccine from the Blue Ridge Health District, may claim one of the CVS appointments, according to the health district. (“Registering” means the person has submitted the district’s online survey “expressing interest” in receiving a vaccine.)

As of Feb. 9, the plan was for people who meet these requirements to register themselves for an appointment directly with CVS. The pharmacy won’t announce the time appointments will go live, but once they do, the spots will fill up on a first-come-first serve basis.

“It’s going to be difficult because we’re not getting a ton of doses right now,” said Amy Thibault, a spokeswoman for CVS. “So, those appointments are going to be gone within probably minutes.”

The chain is part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which is separate from states’ vaccination efforts. The federal government has guaranteed CVS some 26,000 doses a week for its Virginia stores during February. The chain plans to offer the vaccine at stores in 36 Virginia localities. That means each store will have fewer than 1,000 doses a week.

Blue Ridge Health District

Vaccinations for COVID-19 are currently underway in the city and surrounding counties. As of Jan. 20, the local Blue Ridge Health District (formerly Thomas Jefferson Health District) is vaccinating individuals in Phase 1A and some people in 1B.

There is currently a shortage of vaccines in the district. As of Jan. 21, the district is scheduled to receive 2,950 doses a week for four weeks. These will be distributed among Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Nelson, Fluvanna, Louisa and Greene. There are likely more than 100,000 people in this district who qualify for vaccines in Phase 1B.

In response to the vaccine shortage, the local health district has temporarily restricted the people qualified to be vaccinated. That list now includes frontline healthcare workers — Phase 1A — and “some Phase 1B essential workers.” At the same time, people 75 and older who have already registered for a vaccine will be getting one from the University of Virginia Medical Center. More information below under heading Phase 1B.

Here’s everything we know about how individuals in different phases may get their vaccine:

Phase 1A
Phase 1A includes frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

Healthcare workers

  • Hospital workers — The University of Virginia Medical Center is handling vaccinating its staff. As of Jan. 19, 9,617 UVA Health System employees had received their first dose of vaccine, and 2,704 employees had received both doses. Roughly 14,000 are eligible.
  • Other health care workers — The Blue Ridge Health District is vaccinating all non-hospital healthcare workers in the district. These appointments are made through individuals’ employers. The health district has already reached out to some organizations. Any employer of frontline health care workers who has not been contacted can fill out an online survey to get on the district’s list. Health district officials will then contact the employees directly to set up appointments. There are roughly 8,000 non-hospital affiliated health care workers in the district. Qualifying frontline health care fields include:
    • Mental Health Residential Care Facility – DBHDS, private psychiatric facility, rehabilitation facility
    • Dialysis Office
    • Department of Corrections – Healthcare personnel
    • Home Health and Hospice
    • Ambulatory Surgery Center
    • Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)
    • Community Service Board (CSBs)
    • Primary Care Doctors Office
    • Free Clinics
    • Dental Practice
    • Pharmacies
    • K-12 Nursing staff
    • Students in clinical rotations
    • EMS – Please see your chief for further information
    • Law Enforcement – who act as first responders

Residents of long-term care facilities
Residents in local long-term care facilities are receiving vaccines from either CVS or Walgreens. The companies will arrange to bring the vaccines directly to the facilities.

Phase 1B

During at least the month of February, only “some Phase 1B essential workers” and some people ages 75 and above are eligible to receive vaccines from the health district. The district is scheduling appointments with essential workers in the following order:

  1. Police, Fire, and Hazmat
  2. Corrections and homeless shelter workers
  3. Childcare/PreK-12 Teachers/Staff
  4. Food and Agriculture (including veterinarians)
  5. Manufacturing
  6. Grocery store workers
  7. Public transit workers
  8. Mail carriers (USPS and private)
  9. Officials needed to maintain continuity of government (including judges and public facing judicial workers)

It is unclear where the Blue Ridge Health District is in that line currently.

The district does not anticipate opening up vaccines to Phase 1B more broadly until “March or April.”

Phase 1B includes people aged 65 and older; individuals with high-risk medical conditions; certain essential workers; people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps.

As of Feb. 2, 42,000 people had signed up as part of Phase 1B. The health district is receiving 2,950 doses of vaccine a week and says it will take “several months” to vaccinate everyone in this phase.

75 and up
Around 5,500 area residents who are 75 and older and had filled out an online survey indicating their interest in being vaccinated prior to Jan. 14 will be at UVA Health’s vaccination clinic. Beginning Jan. 18, UVA contacted these residents directly to set up an appointment. There were initially some “scheduling complications,” but as of Jan. 21, the district said, “issues are being resolved and the clinic is operating smoothly.”

65 and up
On Jan. 18, Gov. Ralph Northam expanded Phase 1B to include residents ages 65 and up (originally 1B included only people 75 and up). Anyone who fits the age requirement may “indicate their interest” in getting a vaccine by either filling out an online survey or calling the health district’s hotline. Click here for the survey. 

The survey will not schedule an appointment, it simply notifies the health district that you wish to make an appointment. The health district will contact people who have completed the survey once an appointment becomes available — the health district has stated in a recent newsletter that this will likely be in several months.

Most (though not all) people will receive a confirmation email from “Google Forms” once they have completed the survey. It may be in either their ‘spam’ or ‘promotions’ folders. “We are aware that some individuals are not receiving confirmation emails but if you see a confirmation screen after completing the survey, then we have received your input,” according to the district.

High-risk medical conditions
Like people ages 65 and up, anyone between the ages of 16 and 64 who has a qualifying pre-existing medical condition is considered part of Phase 1B. The following conditions qualify:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Down Syndrome
  • Smoking/Vaping (more than 20 days a month)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Anyone with one of these conditions may “indicate their interest” in getting a vaccine by either filling out an online survey or calling the health district’s hotline. Click here for the survey. 

The survey will not schedule an appointment, it simply notifies the health district that you wish to make an appointment. The health district will contact people who have completed the survey once an appointment becomes available — this will likely be in several months.

Most (though not all) people will receive a confirmation email from “Google Forms” once they have completed the survey. It may be in either their ‘spam’ or ‘promotions’ folders. “We are aware that some individuals are not receiving confirmation emails but if you see a confirmation screen after completing the survey, then we have received your input,” according to the district.

As of Jan. 19, the district was not requiring people to verify they have a qualifying medical condition. Though, local officials are awaiting “more guidance” from the state health department.

Essential workers
The following jobs qualify as “essential” in Phase 1B:

  • Police, Fire, Hazmat (who weren’t identified in Phase 1A)
  • Corrections and homeless shelter workers
  • Childcare/K-12 Teachers/Staff
  • Food and Agriculture (Food Packaging and Distribution)
  • Manufacturing
  • Grocery Store Workers
  • Public Transportation Workers
  • Mail carriers (USPS and private)
  • 911 Emergency Communications Center
  • Officials needed to maintain continuity of government

Like non-hospital affiliated healthcare workers, these individuals will be vaccinated by the health district and must be registered by their employers. Employers of such workers must fill out this online survey to get their employees in line for appointments. The health district will contact the employees directly when an appointment becomes available. This could take months.

On Jan. 21, the health district announced it would host specialty clinics throughout the district for Phase 1B organizations and employees.

Correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps
The health district is still working on plans to immunize people in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps. However, on Jan. 21 it announced it may bring such groups to its vaccination center in the parking lot of former Kmart on Hydraulic Road for “specialty clinic days” that will be closed to the general public. The timeline for this is unclear.

Phase 1C
Phase 1C broadly includes “other essential workers,” such as:

  • Energy
  • Water, wastewater, and waste removal workers
    (includes recycling removal workers)
  • Housing Construction
  • Food Service
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Institutions of Higher Education Faculty/Staff
  • Finance
  • Information Technology & Communication
  • Media
  • Legal Services
  • Public Safety (engineers)
  • Other Public Health Workers

The timeline for this phase is unclear.

The general public
Anyone who is not included in one of the first three phases is considered part of the general public and will have access to the vaccine once the state finishes with its priority groups. The timeline for this is unclear but may begin sometime in the summer.