PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — In a one-on-one interview with 10 On Your Side, State Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said COVID-19 vaccines should become available for anyone who wants one by the end of April.

“At this point, we really are about three weeks away from getting through that 1b population and I think probably by the last week of April or even before that we will be able to open it up to the general population.”

Dr. Avula believes the vaccination process is about to speed up as we move into group 1c because he said all of the categories in 1c are specific worker groups, and so one of the primary ways we’re going to get to those essential workers is through closed pods with employers.

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For instance, a construction company or media group could coordinate with their local health department to arrange a sort of mini-clinic. Avula predicts it will take two weeks or less to immunize group 1C. Then the state must be prepared to handle the expected surge when immunizations open to all. One way they plan to respond is through expanding the number of people allowed to give the shots.

“One of the recent pieces of legislation was the passage of the Virginia Volunteer Vaccinator Registry and that should go live next week is the plan,” Dr. Avula explained.

This is where veterinarians, dentists, physical therapists, optometrists, and health care students can sign up to become vaccinators. They must take a training module and have their skills tested, then their name gets added to a database that will be distributed around the state.

That way, Avula said, anyone who is holding a vaccination clinic can use the database to find vaccinators in their area.

We also asked Dr. Avula about elderly Virginians who still have not received an appointment for a shot, usually because they don’t use the internet or texting.

He said soon you will be able to schedule an appointment directly over the phone through the state call center.