Questions about vaccine eligibility, availability rise as Hampton Roads inches closer to Phase 2

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — As more people in Hampton Roads qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine, there are still some questions and confusion over who’s exactly eligible right now to get it.

Norfolk entered Phase 1c Friday, joining cities like Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake to open up vaccine appointments to other essential workers.

Norfolk also said they’ll begin vaccinating the general public, part of Phase 2, starting April 4.

Chief Operating Officer Paul Brumund of the Norfolk Health Department says the key to getting that shot in your arm is accurately pre-registering online so they know how many doses are needed before moving to the next phase.

“We expect that we’re going to go through the phase of 1c group pretty quickly. That’s why we want to gear up and start asking people to register for Phase 2,” he said.

Other cities, including Hampton and Newport News, are behind, only offering vaccines to those in Phase 1b.

All Virginians over 16 will be eligible for the vaccine by April 18, meaning anyone part of Phase 1b and 1c will be prioritized until then.

Outside Military Circle Mall in Norfolk, newly-vaccinated people are relieved to finally get that long-awaited shot in their arms, although they say the process could’ve been simpler.

Jacque Titus is immunocompromised and believed she’d be one of the first to get the vaccine.

She tried CVS, Harris Teeter, Walgreens and other places to get an appointment but was told she didn’t qualify.

Titus finally got an email earlier this week saying she’s eligible for the vaccine and got her first shot Friday.

“I know they can’t accommodate all medical conditions, but with a compromised immune system, you worry every day that you might get something,” she said.

Rebecca Baker has high blood pressure and also thought she’d qualify for one of the earlier groups.

She said she was confused about which specific group she’d qualify for, and decided to wait until she was notified to get a vaccine.

“Right now, it’s probably clearer because now that they got more vaccines available, I think people will be able to see it more now that it’s out there,” she said.

As more areas begin to move into Phase 2, health department officials say vaccines will continue to be given by appointment only and don’t see walk-in vaccinations being an option any time soon.

That’s why pre-registration is key before the commonwealth fully moves into Phase 2.

“We will prioritize based on some vulnerable population areas, those that are having challenges getting to vaccine sites,” said Brumund.

Norfolk Health Department officials say that they’re expecting this process to just pick up once more hospitals and pharmacies get those vaccines on hand.

To make sure you can get an appointment, pre-register through the Virginia vaccination portal at vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682 or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682.

For more information on the vaccine, visit WAVY’s vaccination page.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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