NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Sentara Healthcare will start 1b COVID-19 vaccinations for the roughly 5,000 low-income, underinsured and Medicaid patients that use its Sentara Ambulatory Care Center for care.
The nonprofit center at 130 Colley Avenue, which operates in partnership with Eastern Virginia Medical School to manage chronic disease and ultimately reduce emergency room visits, is administering the shot by appointment only.
“It’s very important to get the uninsured patients vaccinated because we want to make sure that one, we are reducing the disparity in terms of healthcare access for those residents, and two, we want to increase the equity in terms of them being able to have access to vaccines,” explained Toy Coffey-Perkins, manager of the Ambulatory Care Center.
The vaccinations are expected to continue into next week, Sentara officials say.
Just as important as the first shot is making sure every patient at the Ambulatory Care Center comes back for the second.
“We’re already setting them up for those second appointments before they even leave the building,” said Coffey-Perkins. “We’re also giving them a calendar that has the appointment in there as well as an appointment itinerary and we’re also making personal phone calls to those patients to make sure they get back in within the 28 days.”
1b vaccinations include people 65 years of age and older, those 16 to 64 with at-risk health conditions, and other groups such as teachers, police officers and front-line workers.
There is no set date for when Virginia will move to Phase 1c, which the VDH defines on its website as “other essential workers,” but more vaccine doses are on the way to boost Virginia’s limited supply.
For more vaccination information from Sentara, click here.