VDH: Crater Health is among districts with lowest shipments of COVID vaccines in Virginia

VDH: Crater Health is among districts with lowest shipments of COVID vaccines in Virginia

Bill Atkinson
The Progress-Index

Only five other health districts, all of them mostly rural, have received a total number of doses that is smaller than the Tri-City area. Meanwhile. CHD has online tool to pre-register for appointment notices.

PETERSBURG — The Crater Health District said Thursday it has created an online tool for pre-registering for the COVID-19 vaccine now being administered to people within the first two phases of the vaccination rollout.

The online portal is not considered making an appointment to get the shot, CHD said. Instead, people in phases 1a and 1b who still have not received the vaccine can get on a waitlist for information when the next round of appointments will be taken.

CHD executive director Dr. Alton Hart Jr. said in a statement that the online tool will hopefully speed up the process because the district will already have the registrant's contact information in hand when they set up the appointment.

“We are diligently working to provide vaccine to individuals in Phase 1a and 1b. Our goal is to carry out vaccine distribution to as many residents in these groups as possible,” Hart said.

Thursday's announcement comes as Virginia is facing criticism for iits lag in getting the COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of Virginians. A recent survey found the commonwealth ranked last among the 50 states in dosing out the vaccines since they became available in mid-December 2020.

It also comes upon the release of data showing the Crater Health District — stretching from Petersburg southward to the North Carolina line — has been shipped the sixth-lowest amount of vaccines among Virginia's 35 health districts.

The bottom five are largely rural

VDH unveiled a new online dashboard Thursday that shows a breakdown of vaccine shipments by health district.According to that map, CHD has received a total of 11,200 vials through VDH channels, which is 29th out of the commonwealth's 35 health districts.

Only the largely-rural Southside, Western Tidewater, Piedmont, Three Rivers and Chickahominy health districts have received less shipments, according to the VDH data.

That total also represents .9% of the total supply of 1.16 million vaccines Virginia has received since the shots became available in mid December 2020.

As far as getting shots into the arms of its residents. Virginia has administered more than 641,000, or around 55% of the supply. Locally, Petersburg has given 2,121 injections, about 40% of the total number of vaccinations district-wide.

So what are my options?

If you are in Phase 1a [frontline healthcare workers or residents of longterm healthcare facilities] or Phase 1b [first responders, teachers and child-care providers, grocery store workers, residents 65 years old and older and residents with underlying health conditions], CHD suggests one of two options to get your name on the waiting list.

The first option is online. Click this link to the Crater Health District Vaccine Waitlist, or go to the CHD website to access it. Fill out the information requested and send it. That will put you into the database to be contacted when CHD starts its next round of taking appointments.

The other option is to call (804) 862-8989 between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Because of high caller traffic, wait times to speak with someone at the center may be longer than normal.

While the online option is quicker, CHD cautioned that it will not affect the timeline of when you will be contacted. CHD said it is taking days or even weeks for VDH to send out the notifications, and as long as months before an appointment will be available.

Once you get pre-registered, you are asked not to call or contact anyone for an update on the status. CHD said that will only cause more delays or even prevent others from scheduling their shots.

“We will continue to vaccinate our community to the best of our ability with the resources we have available,” Hart said in the statement.

In the meantime, CHD and VDH are preaching vigilance and continued caution against spreading the virus. Pandemic restrictions in Virginia have been extended through the end of February, and residents are encouraged to continue to social distance and wear masks when social distancing is not attainable.

If you go onto federal property, you are required to wear a mask and follow social distancing for the duration of your visit.

Bill Atkinson (he/him) is the news director of The Progress-Index, located in his hometown of Petersburg, Va. He is also the breaking-news coordinator and has been known to "nerd out" over political news coverage and history. Contact Bill  at batkinson@progress-index.com, and follow him on Twitter at @BAtkinson_PI, and subscribe to us at progress-index.com.