We held a Covid work session yesterday and I want to share some information. The new Virginia site went live yesterday.
1. The very good news from the session is that, although there is a new Virginia-wide pre-registration system, everyone who pre-registered with Arlington County is still in our system. There are over 41,000 people who have pre-registered in Arlington, including myself. Virginia is incorporating our pre-registrations into their new system, and all who pre-registered with Arlington will be contacted by Arlington County when it’s time for their vaccination appointment. Everyone will be contacted in generally the order in which they signed up with Arlington.
The new system had not downloaded our Arlington information about pre-registrations when it went live, I’ve now heard that people have been able to go to the new State site and confirm they are pre-registered in the Virginia system.
If you are like me, you might have searched the Virginia site yesterday and ended up pre-registering a second time because it was not clear what you should do. Not to worry. It won’t affect your first pre-registration with Arlington. If you’ve not yet pre-registered at all, I encourage you to do so at https://vaccinate.virginia.gov/. It may be a while before you are scheduled, but it’s good to be signed up and assured of a vaccination.
2. Many have asked about equity considerations with vaccine distribution. Arlington County is acutely aware that systemic inequities apply to our health care systems. We also know there are many who have serious underlying health conditions no matter what their socio-economic status which make them more vulnerable to the virus. We follow the State guidelines for priority
order for vaccinations as we must. We are working hard to reach out to those most vulnerable and most in need of vaccinations due to their work or living situations, as well as health and age issues. We are working through the Arlington Free Clinic which has established good relationships with many of our underserved residents who tend not to be well connected to health services. In addition, as soon as we are sure the Virginia system is functioning well, we will launch a registration effort with members of our Complete Vaccination Committee (CVC) to reach out to individuals who might need help to register for a vaccination. This is a “reboot” of our successful Complete Count Census effort and has the multi-lingual and multi-cultural structure in place from last year.
Meanwhile, if any of my readers know a friend or neighbor who could use help pre-registering, you might consider reaching out to them to help them sign up. It’s quite easy, but still can feel difficult to someone unused to working on a computer or without a computer.
3. Finally, let me reassure those concerned that Arlington County might waste vaccines, we do not. We have a very hard-working and flexible operation going out of our two main sites at the Sequoia Center and Walter Reed Community Center. For example, we were scheduled to administer 900 doses last Saturday but moved them to Sunday because of the weather. We successfully
administered all 900 doses. We are rescheduling some appointments now due to the expected storm tomorrow. Our major and ongoing challenge continues to be getting more vaccine doses. Our Board Chair, Matt De Ferranti, has spoken directly to the Governor several times stressing that we can vaccinate many more people than the 2,750 weekly doses we are getting from the State; and that we have systems in place to make sure those vaccines get to some of our most vulnerable and underserved communities…..if we just had more vaccines.
Recent news reports say that states will be receiving increased vaccine doses from the Federal Government soon. While it is still cold outside and another wintery mix storm is on the way, spring is coming and so is a time when everyone who wants to be vaccinated, will be.
I hope this newsletter is helpful and that everyone is warm and safe. I greatly appreciate the feedback and questions my readers have been giving me. You help me make sure I ask the right questions.