Following Governor Northam’s directive to increase flexibility and speed up vaccine distribution in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced Arlington County will begin Phase 1b vaccinations the week of Jan. 11, 2021.
Arlington will begin gradually adding vaccination opportunities to eligible groups defined in Phase 1b by VDH, including frontline essential workers and people aged 75 and older.
Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) is partnering with Arlington County to operate a vaccination clinic for residents over the age of 75. Vaccines will be available by appointment only. Arlington residents over the age of 75 can schedule appointments at the VHC website.
COVID-19 Vaccine Pre-Registration
Arlington employers of frontline essential workers identified in Phase 1b who are interested in obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine should pre-register with the Arlington County Public Health Division.
Those who are eligible for vaccination as part of Phase 1c — other essential workers, people 64-75 years old and people 16-64 years old with a high risk medical condition or disability that increases their risk of severe illness from COVID-19 — can also pre-register. They will be notified to make a vaccination appointment when Arlington moves into Phase 1c.
If you are an individual employee of an essential organization, please tell your supervisor to arrange for one person to register on behalf of all staff. Your employer will then be given instructions on when and how to upload all employees for vaccine appointments.
Pre-registration does not mean you will be offered the vaccine immediately. Because there is not sufficient supply at this time to vaccinate everyone in Phase 1b at the same time, VDH has determined the priority order of the Frontline Essential Worker groups:
- Police, Fire, and Hazmat
- Corrections and homeless shelter workers
- Childcare/K-12 Teachers/Staff
- Food and Agriculture (including Veterinarians)
- Grocery store workers
- Public transit workers
- Mail carriers (USPS and private)
- Officials needed to maintain continuity of government
It will take several weeks to months to vaccinate all Virginians who fall into Phase 1b. The ability to schedule appointments will depend on the supply of vaccine available. For more details visit the Arlington County Public Health Division COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Pre-Registration page.
At this time, the COVID vaccine is only available to individuals who meet the criteria outlined by VDH in Phases 1a and 1b, but will expand as supplies and resources increase. Arlington County is following the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and VDH.
As part of the Virginia Department of Health, the Arlington County Public Health Division (ACPHD) has been using initial shipments to vaccinate those identified in Phase 1a: practicing healthcare workers not affiliated with hospitals, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and public health.
Virginia guidance was adapted from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations that aim to (1) decrease COVID-19 deaths and serious disease, (2) preserve functioning of society, and (3) reduce the extra burden COVID19 is having on people already facing disparities.
While vaccines could be available to the general public in spring or summer 2021, depending on manufacturers’ ability to produce and send vaccines, the actual amount received in Virginia is a moving target and dependent on when and how quickly vaccination doses are manufactured.
Visit VDH’s COVID-19 Daily Dashboard to stay informed about the numbers of vaccines distributed and administered in Virginia.
Nationwide distribution of any COVID-19 vaccine will be a joint effort between the CDC and the U.S. Department of Defense.
At this time, two COVID-19 vaccines, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine, have been authorized for emergency use by the FDA and recommended by CDC. The first vaccines arrived in Virginia in December 2020, in several smaller shipments.
Long-term care facility residents will be given vaccines on-site at their facilities by CVS and Walgreens, which are partnering with the CDC.
Vaccines are now a reality, and an important tool and in preventing the spread of COVID-19. A vaccine will work for most people, but it will not work for everyone. We do not know yet how long any protection will last, and we do not yet know whether or how often you may need to get revaccinated.
Even after you are vaccinated, you will still need to practice these prevention steps:
- Stay home if sick
- Wash your hands
- Wear a face covering
- Keep physical distance from others