PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth officials are asking the public to be patient as they work to get people scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Portsmouth Health Department said their waitlist stretches into the thousands.
Since vaccine rollout began, the Portsmouth Health Department said 3,900 people in Portsmouth have received a shot.
The demand continues to grow, but officials said getting through phase 1b will take two to three months, depending on supply.
With about 1,200 doses coming in a week, Portsmouth Health District Director Dr. Lauren James said vaccinating everyone in phase 1b is no easy feat.
“We estimate it could be 20 to 30,000 people in that group,” James said.
The federal government promised to send states more doses, but James said it’s not yet clear how much more that will include for the City of Portsmouth.
Portsmouth health officials are working to contact and schedule appointments for between 8,000 and 10,000 people who pre-registered through the website alone.
“We have a list of voicemails as well so we’re just trying to order them by first come, first serve to get to everyone, but when we don’t get a response by email or phone, we do have to continue to move down our list,” James said.
James said Portsmouth Health Department is working to improve communication on its website and through the newly launched call center.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover said the city is exploring more ways to help with the distribution process.
“Myself and Dr. James were on a call with the leaders of Bon Secours yesterday talking about ways that they can assist us in our effort of vaccinating our people,” Glover said.
Officials said they are happy the public is eager to get vaccinated.
“We have to just take our time and make sure we’re doing it correctly because we don’t want to have any negative outcomes that could’ve been prevented,” James said.
However, they remind the public this process isn’t one to rush through.
“We’ll get through this together but it’s going to take some time,” Glover said.
The city’s vaccination site at the sports complex off Portsmouth Boulevard is by appointment only. It is not open to the public.