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Vaccinations to move to Phase 1b Tuesday

The Piedmont Health District has announced it will expand COVID-19 vaccination to include Phase 1b recipients.

According to a Tuesday, Jan. 12, press release, the health district will begin Tuesday, Jan, 19, to activate its closed “point of dispensing” (POD) COVID-19 vaccination clinics for residents in the Phase 1b priority group for vaccination.

The release states Phase 1b, the second group eligible to receive the vaccine, includes police, fire and  hazmat response personnel, those living and working in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant  labor camps, childcare/K-12 teachers and staff, food and agriculture workers, manufacturers, grocery store  workers, public transit workers, mail carriers (USPS and private) and anyone age 75 or older.

Citizens in Phase 1a will still be provided opportunities to receive the vaccine.

The release adds that individuals will be required to bring a personal form of identification such as a driver’s license and may also be asked to show proof of qualification, such as a work ID, in order to verify eligibility.

Officials highlight the PODs are specifically for Phase 1b and Phase 1a; COVID-19 vaccine is not available to the general public. These are not public events.

Vaccination planning teams, the release adds, are reaching out to employers in Phase 1b. Phase 1b essential workers who wish to receive the vaccine or have questions should contact their employers’ point of contact. Non-affiliated Phase 1b residents wishing to receive the vaccine can contact their local health department.

According to the release, as availability of the vaccine increases, Virginia will move to the other phases. Phase 1c will include other essential workers, people age 65 and older and people 16 and older with underlying medical conditions. The  complete definitions of all phases, data and other information are on VDH’s Vaccine Response website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/.

Virginians who do not fall into priority phases will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when it is more widely available. Once the vaccine is rolled out to the general public, distribution will be similar to the flu vaccine.  People will be able to get the vaccine from a local pharmacy, primary care physician, federally qualified Health Center (FQHC)/free clinic, local health department or other clinic that is participating as a COVID-19 vaccination program provider.