PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — On Thursday morning, Gov. Ralph Northam announced all individuals in Virginia age 16 and older will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine starting on April 18, beating the May 1 nationwide goal set by President Joe Biden.
Northam made the announcement during a visit to a vaccination clinic at First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Prince William County, where officials say more than 1,000 vaccines will be administered on Thursday, April 1.
According to the governor’s office, this news comes as Virginia nears the end of Phase 1, which means not only has almost every Virginian in the highest risk groups who pre-registered for a vaccination appointment received one, but those still on the pre-registration list are set to receive appointment invitations within the next two weeks.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel—and that light is getting brighter every day as more and more Virginians get vaccinated,” said Northam. “We continue to work with diverse providers and community partners across the Commonwealth to distribute vaccines in a fair and equitable way and ensure those at the highest risk are vaccinated first. Expanding vaccine eligibility to all adults marks an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to put this pandemic behind us, and I thank all of the public health staff, health care workers, vaccinators, and volunteers who have helped make this possible.”
With more than 3.7 million doses of vaccine administered so far in Virginia, officials say more than one in three adults have received at least one dose while one in five Virginians are fully vaccinated.
“Virginia is administering vaccine doses as quickly as they are provided by the federal government. Because the Commonwealth has followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prioritize those at highest risk, and because Virginia is a large and diverse state with many essential workers, many out-of-state commuters, and a high percentage of the population that wants to be vaccinated, it has taken some time to open eligibility to the general public.
In addition to adopting phased eligibility based on risk, Virginia has focused on equity throughout its vaccination effort by providing targeted resources in multiple languages, scheduling clinics in collaboration with community partners, performing grassroots outreach to drive pre-registration and scheduling, and implementing large, state-run Community Vaccination Centers in areas with vulnerable populations. These efforts will continue when eligibility opens to the general public in Phase 2.”Office of Gov. Ralph Northam
According to the governor’s office, 21 of Virginia’s 35 local health districts have already started vaccinating essential workers in Phase 1c after offering appointments to everyone on the pre-registration list who is eligible in Phases 1a or 1b.
Starting Sunday, April 4, officials say health districts that have invited everyone pre-registered in Phase 1c will be allowed to invite members of the general public who have pre-registered.
Based on the supply projected by the federal government, all Virginia health districts will have enough vaccines to open up appointments to the general public by April 18, according to Thursday’s statement from the governor’s office.
However, people at highest risk will reportedly continue to receive priority in the scheduling process.
Even if you are not currently eligible to receive your vaccine, anyone who lives or works in Virginia and is interested in receiving a vaccine should pre-register by clicking here or by calling 1-877-VAX-IN-VA.
After you pre-register through the state site, officials say you will be contacted when it is your turn to be vaccinated.