WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Williamsburg-James City County Schools staff began receiving the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Friday — the first group to receive vaccinations at the new temporary clinic.

The clinic is not open to the general public yet and currently, only WJCC Schools staff and eligible city employees are being vaccinated. The school division is contacting staff directly about the schedule and registration process.

“By starting with a smaller pool of people, we are able to test our processes within the clinic and make adjustments for when we have enough vaccine supply to open it to the general public,” said City Manager Andrew O. Trivette.

The Peninsula Health District, which encompasses the Williamsburg and James City County, is now in Phase 1b of the Virginia Department of Health’s phased distribution system.

With the clinic, the two localities are able to begin offering vaccinations for select groups within Phase 1b — including teachers and other WJCC employees who will be in substantial in-person contact with students.

“We are grateful to work with city, county, and health leaders to take a monumental step forward in the fight against COVID,” said Dr. Olwen Herron, WJCC Schools superintendent.

“The start of the vaccination process, coupled the consistent use of masks, social distancing and cleaning protocols in schools, strengthen our ability to bring students back to classrooms safely.”

Additionally, city employees with Williamsburg and James City County who are eligible according to the Virginia Department of Health’s phased distribution system will be able to schedule an appointment at the Visitor Center clinic through their employer.

According to a statement released by city staff, vaccine supply at this location is limited and appointments need to be scheduled accordingly. An announcement will be made when the sites open for public vaccination.

The clinic at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center is one of three vaccination clinics that opened on the Peninsula this week.

The new clinics are at the Visitor Center, the Hampton Roads Convention Center, and Christopher Newport University and will be capable of serving large numbers of people once enough vaccine supply is made available.

Existing medical staff, including school nurses, from each locality, will serve as vaccinators.

“If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that our community is stronger when we work together,” said Cliff Fleet, president and CEO of Colonial Williamsburg.

“Today, I am honored that the Foundation can once again help the Greater Williamsburg community through this difficult time by transforming the Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center into a temporary vaccination center in partnership with local governments and the Virginia Department of Health. The next few months will be challenging as our community is immunized against the virus, but working together I am confident we will persevere and emerge stronger.”

The Visitor Center will remain closed to Colonial Williamsburg guests until the facility is no longer needed for this initiative.

During this time, Colonial Williamsburg encourages guests to park for free at the Art Museums’
parking lot. Guests who opt to park at the Visitor Center can ride the Colonial Williamsburg shuttle to access the Historic Area, Art Museums and satellite ticket offices.

Read the full statement here.

For medical questions related to the vaccine, contact the Virginia Department of Health at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343) or visit vdh.virginia.gov.