New group of Virginians able to receive COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday

Health director estimates it could be available for anyone by the spring

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination in Virginia is right around the corner.

Starting Monday, parts of the commonwealth will move into Phase 1B of its vaccination plan. That opens up the COVID-19 vaccine for people older than 75 and workers in essential, high-contact professions, including:

  • First responders, including police officers, firefighters, and hazmat workers
  • Workers at correctional facilities or homeless shelters
  • Teachers and childcare workers
  • Food and agriculture employees
  • Grocery store workers
  • Public transit employees
  • Mail carriers, which includes both the United States Postal Service and private mail services

“We want to be efficient and have large scale vaccination numbers,” said New River Valley health director Dr. Noelle Bissell. “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a long tunnel, so don’t get excited yet.”

Although the list of people able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is relatively exclusive, Bissell hopes to open it up to everyone as soon as she can.

“Our goal is hopefully by late spring, we’ll be able to get everyone vaccinated, or at the very least, into the summertime,” Bissell said. “This is a real time thing; it’s incredible the vaccine is being rolled out this quickly.”

The new vaccinations come amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in Virginia. The state has recorded more than 5,000 cases each day for the past five days, including a record 5,789 cases on Saturday.

“The vaccine is more important than ever right now,” Bissell said. “If we can put a break in the transmission, that’s where we’re going to see the end of the pandemic.”

More information about the New River Valley’s vaccination plan is available at this link.