Thousands receive link for COVID-19 vaccine event at Richmond Raceway by mistake, registrations canceled

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A medical worker holding a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and a syringe during mass vaccination starts in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Authorities started to vaccinate the most vulnerable people in a coordinated effort. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Thousands of registrations for the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine event at Richmond Raceway have been canceled after people who were not eligible for the event received a signup link in error and used it to register for the vaccine.

The vaccination event link was intended for public school and public safety employees only from the counties of Goochland, Hanover, Henrico and the City of Richmond.

Employees who are in the top three front-facing worker groups are designated by the Virginia Department of Health for the vaccine under Phase 1B.

The Virginia Department of Health is sponsoring numerous public vaccination clinics but this event was not intended for the general public — therefore nullifying the registration.

More than 55 percent (6000) of the registrations came from people who were not part of the listed priority groups but received the link in an error.

The number of registrations far exceeded the number of available vaccines and would have excluded much of the public school and public safety employees from receiving their vaccinations, according to Tony McDowell, the Henrico deputy county manager for public safety.

“Unfortunately, many residents in central Virginia who are not part of these priority vaccination groups received the registration link by mistake,” McDowell said. “We regret this error and any inconvenience or confusion it has caused for our residents.

“We are working to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to our community as safely and quickly as possible, in accordance with the Phase 1B priority-group protocols established by the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC,” he said. “We are grateful for everyone’s patience as we continue to work to protect the health and well-being of our community.”

The agencies from Goochland, Hanover, Henrico and Richmond will confirm and be in contact with the employees who registered through the signup link — and Chesterfield public school and public safety employees are asked to continue with existing plans to receive the vaccine at Chesterfield-based events.

The Richmond Raceway event will still be held, as originally planned — beginning Wednesday, Jan 20th through Friday, Jan. 22. Those in the top levels of Phase 1B are the only ones included to receive the vaccine.

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