Essex County Virginia

Three Rivers District Update/Vaccination Status

Posted on 01/20/2021
Three Rivers Health District COVID 19 Update: Area hospitals and the Three Rivers Health District have completed vaccinating health care workers and first responders with their first injections in vaccine phase 1a. Long-term health care and assisted living facility residents and staff are being vaccinated by Walgreens and CVS pharmacies through a federal partnership. The Three Rivers Health District has transitioned to phase 1b. A map of COVID 19 Vaccine Phase by Health District can be viewed here:  https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/phase-by-health-district/
Last week the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced the inclusion of persons aged 65-75 and persons aged 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions in phase 1b.  Governor Northam announced Virginia’s compliance with this change later last week. The Three Rivers Health District COVID 19 Vaccination status is now phase on phase 1b. Phase 1b has been expanded to include all individuals 65 years of age and over, and persons aged 16-64 with underlying medical conditions that increase risk from COVID 19 infection. Phase 1b continues to include critical infrastructure workers, including: first responders, child care and K-12 teachers, front line essential workers in manufacturing, food, and grocery, transit, and postal workers. For critical infrastructure workers eligible in phase 1b, the Three Rivers Health District and other vaccination providers will reach out through place of employment to offer opportunities for vaccination as we are able to do so. Three Rivers Health District personnel will vaccinate the K-12 public school system faculty and staff: we are contacting school officials to arrange appointments.
The Three Rivers Health District will begin vaccination of the very large population of persons qualified in group 1b this week. If you qualify in phase 1b, and want a COVID 19 vaccination, or have any other COVID 19 vaccine related question, please call our COVID 19 resource center at 804-824-2733. The call center will be active on Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding state holidays. You can also visit the following website to determine your phase eligibility and to register: https://vdh.jebbit.com/amkwk6m1?L=Owned+Web&JC=Vaccine. The website managers will provide your contact information to us and we will reach out to you as vaccination appointments become available.  
Three Rivers has established a collaborative relationship with our local hospitals to engage our combined capabilities in the COVID 19 vaccination effort. We are in frequent communication with each other for coordination. The EMS staff of several jurisdictions and our Medical Reserve Corps volunteers are helping us with vaccine administration, logistics, and facility support. There are a number of pharmacies and health care providers in our area that have indicated interest in participating in the COVID 19 vaccination effort. Three Rivers is working with the VDH Central Office to identify them and help them meet all requirements to enter the vaccination effort with us as soon as possible.  In the near future, we expect larger chain stores and pharmacies such as Kroger, Wal-Mart, CVS, and Walgreens to come on line and begin offering vaccinations to the community. Plans are also being developed at the state level to open large scale vaccination centers at the regional level.
Due to the expanded size of the phase 1b eligible population, and potential vaccine supply issues, there may be delays in contacting you to arrange an appointment. We will update our status on this website as more information becomes available. For the latest status on the vaccination program in the Three Rivers Health District, please visit our website at: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/three-rivers/
 
 
Eligible patients enrolled in the Riverside Health Care System will be contacted by Riverside and offered a vaccination opportunity. Eligible patients in the Bon Secours health care system will be contacted by Bon Secours and offered a vaccination opportunity. We are bringing other community vaccination providers on line who are becoming qualified to administer the COVID 19 vaccination; they will contact their patients to offer vaccination appointments as soon as they are able to do so. The Three Rivers Health District is holding large drive through vaccination events for patients eligible to receive vaccine in phase 1b. These events are by appointment only. We are also deploying teams of our public health nurses to administer vaccine to employees in critical infrastructure facilities. Our Public Health nurses are starting with the K-12 school systems. We are also conducting smaller, focused outreach efforts to begin to vaccinate vulnerable populations in our communities; the hospital systems will partner with us in these efforts. We will reach out to critical infrastructure workers by place of employment as we are able to do so. People eligible for COVID 19 vaccination in phase 1b seeking a vaccination appointment can contact their health care providers for initial consultation.  Any eligible people who cannot receive vaccination through their health care system, or anyone with a COVID 19 related question, should call our COVID 19 resource center at 804-824-2733 Monday through Friday 8:30 – 4:30. Many individuals have used a registration tool on the VDH website to determine their phase group eligibility. We are requesting the managers of this online tool to provide us with the contact information of individuals in the Three Rivers Health District who register.  We will reach out to eligible individuals who have contacted us by phone or through the online tool to offer vaccination appointments as they come available.  

The COVID 19 vaccine involves a much higher level of administrative complexity than flu vaccine. Vaccine recipients must be registered, and must review the FDA Emergency Use Authorization order and provide advised consent to receive the vaccination.  They must answer a series of health related questions to make sure criteria for safely receiving the vaccine are met. Recipients also must be counseled on possible vaccine side effects and provided information concerning the CDC V-safe tool for reporting and tracking side effects.  After receiving their vaccine, recipients must remain on site for 15 minutes to monitor for immediate side effects or complications. 
The requirements of managing and tracking this scarce resource, adhering to eligibility criteria, administering a vaccine under FDA Emergency Use Authorization, assuring on site patient safety and health monitoring, and making sure we capture records of each recipient and assure follow up dosage availability (and system vaccination capacity) all add to complexity. The entire health care system is challenged by the high pandemic surge at this point.  None of us are normally configured with the staff and other resources for an effort of this magnitude, intensity and duration; we are building it in real time. We ask for your patience 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.
IMPORTANT: The vaccines we are using are highly effective against the COVID 19 pathogen, but for the time being public health authorities are recommending we all continue masking, maintaining social distancing and avoiding crowded areas after being vaccinated. Immunity from vaccination takes time to build up, and we need to see evidence of case counts dropping at the population level. Public health authorities will let us know when it is safe to relax protective measures.
The Virginia Department of Health is maintaining a COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard, which is available here: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-in-virginia/.  
As a reminder, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each require two doses:  the Pfizer dosage interval is three weeks, and the Moderna interval is 4 weeks.  The FDA fact sheets for recipients and caregivers for the Pfizer vaccine can be found here:  https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download
The FDA fact sheet for recipients and caregivers for the Moderna vaccine can be found here:  https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download
 
Three Rivers Health District is working very hard to bring medical practices and pharmacies on line to offer vaccinations; we are exerting every effort to enhance our vaccination capability across our communities and provide vaccination opportunities sooner. We thank our MRC volunteers who form the core of our drive-through vaccine team, we could not do this without them. The COVID 19 pandemic is fluid, if there are changes in policies or procedures we will update this website immediately.