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News release by the Virginia Department of Health
The Pittsylvania-Danville and Southside Health Districts is now conducting closed “point of dispensing” (POD) COVID-19 vaccination clinics specifically for “Phase 1a” priority groups. Phase 1a is the first group eligible to receive the vaccine, and include health system personnel with direct contact or a high risk of contact with COVID-positive patients. Phase 1a includes emergency medical services, front-facing staff in primary care medical offices, dentists’ offices and others who provide direct health services in various settings.
Southside Health District began vaccinating on December 23 and Pittsylvania-Danville began on December 28. These PODs are specifically for Phase 1a; the COVID-19 vaccine is not available to the general public and these are not public events.
Phase 1a also includes long-term care residents and staff that are being vaccinated through a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreen’s.
“We are pleased to provide a safe and effective vaccine to health workers in our community,” said Dr. Scott Spillmann, Pittsylvania-Danville and Southside Health Districts’ Director. “While the vaccine provides hope on the horizon, it will still be months before the vaccine is widely available publicly. It’s important to remember we are still very much in the trenches of this pandemic and we must remain vigilant in COVID-19 prevention practices. Continue taking steps to protect yourself and others, such as covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least six feet away from others.”
Vaccination planning teams are reaching out to health care providers in the two health districts. Phase 1a health care providers who wish to receive the vaccine or have questions should contact Nurse Manager Julia Gwaltney (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Local Health Emergency Coordinator Chris Garrett (email@example.com).
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) anticipates Virginia will receive 370,650 vaccines total by the end of the year. Vaccine supplies are allocated monthly, and priority groups are designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. VDH works to identify and vaccinate everyone who wishes to receive the vaccine, in order of the priority groups. By summer 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be widely available for the community.
You can learn more about the vaccine, its safety and answers to frequently asked questions at VDH’s website and CDC’s website.