RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond and Henrico, Chesterfield and Chickahominy Health Districts announced on Friday that they are all moving into Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations. This means anyone 16 and older is eligible for a vaccine.
“This is a turning point in our vaccine distribution,” said Amy Popovich, Nurse Manager for Richmond and Henrico Health Districts. “Everyone ages 16 and over is now eligible; people no longer have to wonder if they qualify.”
The announcement said those who pre-registered for appointments will begin to receive emails and phone calls to schedule appointments for as early as next week. They said outreach will continue for phase 1 and phase 2 until everyone who has preregistered has been contacted about an appointment.
The news makes Joseph Rutherford, a VCU freshman, finally eligible. “It’s a really empowering feeling,” he told 8News.
It’s a moment he’s been waiting for since the end of his high school career fell victim to COVID-19.
He’s expecting to be the last person in his immediate family to get the shot. His brother, who is high-risk for the virus, is still waiting to get it. “It’s really exciting to see that I will eventually get this opportunity and get to do some of the things that I really enjoy doing that I haven’t been able to do in a while,” he said.
Rutherford said he pre-registered for a vaccine earlier this week and is excited to get contacted.
Once he’s fully vaccinated, he’s most excited to enjoy live music again. “I really wanna go see some concerts. I want to play some more live music,” he said.
Popovich said 7,000 people in Richmond and Henrico’s general population were already contacted Friday.
According to the health district’s leaders on a zoom call Friday, there are about 40,000 people pre-registered under phase 2 in Richmond and Henrico, roughly 6,000 in the Chickahominy Health District, and between 17,000 and 20,000 pre-registered in the Chesterfield Health District under phase 2.
Chickahominy includes Goochland, Hanover, New Kent, and Charles City. The Chesterfield Health district includes Chesterfield, Powhatan, and Colonial Heights.
Dr. Alexander Samuel with Chesterfield said it will take some time, likely several months, until every one who wants a vaccine will get one.
“It’s important to remember that we’re just starting phase 2. It could be some time until everyone who qualifies is able to get an appointment. But the good news is that we’re starting,” he said.
While they are moving onto Phase 2, the leaders remind folks that Phase 1 is not complete. They’re still sending vaccine invites out to those folks still waiting and prioritizing them for vaccines.
Their advice is to make sure you and your loved ones are pre-registered with VDH if they haven’t done that already. After that, you will be contacted when it’s your turn.
You can pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment online here or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4692).