Vaccine rollout speeds up

Published 6:18 pm Tuesday, March 23, 2021

After a sluggish start of the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines to the 1B group back in January, the Western Tidewater Health District seems to have hit warp speed in the distribution and administration of this critical, life-saving vaccine in the last few weeks.

Thousands of vaccines have been given out in the last few weeks, and officials are now urging people who have yet to pre-register to do so, so that there are enough arms for vaccine doses in the coming weeks.

People who have pre-registered should check their emails this week for an invitation from the Centers for Disease Control to register for VAMS, the Vaccine Administration Management System. The email may simply say CDC in the “from” line.

If you receive one of these emails, you would do well to click on it, register and choose your appointment as soon as you can.

If you have not already pre-registered, it’s a simple process. You can simply go to vaccinate.virginia.gov, fill in your contact information and answer questions about your risk factors, including your age, race, health conditions, living situation and what line of work you are in.

If you’re still undecided about taking the vaccine, talk to your doctor or other health care provider to ask their thoughts.

And if you are fortunate enough to already be vaccinated, you can help others by continuing to wear a mask in public and social distance as much as possible. Remember, while the vaccine makes it less likely you will get seriously ill from COVID-19, it doesn’t completely eliminate the chances that you will catch or spread the virus.

We know that many people including the staff of the Western Tidewater Health District, its health departments, government officials in Suffolk, Franklin, and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties, folks in the Medical Reserve Corps and other volunteers, faith leaders, operators of venues being used for vaccines, and many others have been working extraordinarily hard on this effort for months, even after many months of working hard on trying to mitigate the pandemic before the vaccines were approved. We send them our greatest appreciation and are looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel.