VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Beach and Norfolk will join several other Hampton Roads cities in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination effort Monday, Jan. 25.
Priority group 1b includes people 65 and older, first responders, grocery store workers and teachers, among others.
By Monday morning, Virginia Beach’s new online portal will be live, allowing some people who live and work in the city to get on a waiting list for the COVID-19 shot.
“This portal, by preregistering, it avoids what you’ve seen in other places with huge lines down the block as people are fighting for a very limited number of vaccines,” said Virginia Beach EMS Chief Ed Brazle.
Walk-ins at the resort city’s mass vaccination site are not allowed. Those who are eligible are required to sign up on the portal and wait for an appointment.
The ability to schedule appointments will depend on the supply of vaccine available. Vaccine supply in Virginia and throughout the country is still very limited.
“It’s very dynamic; things are constantly changing as people cancel appointments, or an additional shipment of vaccines arrives,” Brazle said. “Each week, as we know what supply we’re receiving, then we will reach into the portal list and pull names to invite folks to sign up for an appointment. If you don’t have your name in the portal, you’re never going to get a call for an appointment.”
Brazle is confident the online system will work smoothly. He said the portal has had a series of test runs and technicians will be tracking any glitches.
“If you do get on and it kicks you off, or it freezes, just come back a little bit later, we’ve got technicians on standby,” he said. “We feel pretty good. We’ve got a smaller target group than some of these states that are trying to get millions of people into their portal at one time, but with technology, anything is possible.”
As the race to get more doses into more arms continues, Brazle is reminding folks to pack some patience.
“We’re working as fast as the supplies allow, but this is going to be a long haul,” said Brazle. “We’ve got tens of thousands of people in 1b and then we’ve got the wider community after that, so hang in there.”
Norfolk Department of Public Health is expanding its priority group Monday to people aged 16 to 64 who have a high-risk medical condition or disability that increases their risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Eligible Norfolk residents can preregister online here or call 757-664-SHOT (7468) Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Due to limited vaccine availability, it could take up to 4 to 8 weeks before you are notified to schedule an appointment.