Virginia Governor, Alexandria Mayor Visit T.C. Williams High School to Support Vaccination Effort

School served as vaccination site for ACPS employees, essential workers

ACPS staff received the COVID-19 vaccine at T.C. Williams High School on Jan. 12. (Photo courtesy ACPS)

ALEXANDRIA, VA-Gov. Ralph Northam, Mayor Justin Wilson, and members of City Council visited T.C. Williams High School yesterday, an Alexandria Health Department (AHD) vaccination site. The purpose of the visit was to recognize Alexandria’s leadership in administering the COVID-19 vaccine..

As a result of advocacy by AHD and the City of Alexandria, state officials authorized Alexandria to be among the first localities to move to Phase 1b of vaccinations, which includes frontline essential workers, persons age 75 or older, and staff and residents of correctional facilities and homeless shelters. This follows work from Dec. 24 through Jan. 8 to provide 1,518 doses of vaccine to health care workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities eligible under Phase 1a.

“Our message is simple: Get the vaccine as soon as you are eligible,” said Alexandria Health Director Dr. Stephen A. Haering. “If you are not eligible yet, you will be soon. Be prepared to take this important step for your health and those you love.”

Gov. Ralph Northam speaks at T.C. Williams High School Jan. 12. (Photo courtesy ACPS)

Among the frontline essential workers eligible for vaccination under Phase 1b are public and private K-12 employees and childcare providers. Many of the individuals being vaccinated in Alexandria this week are teachers and staff of Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS). Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine, administered by an ACPS nurse.

“I have one word to express how I am feeling at this moment — grateful,” Dr. Hutchings said. “It was imperative for me to be among the first to take this opportunity and get the vaccine as soon as it became available, to encourage staff to join me in this next step to seeing our school doors open to welcome back ALL students and staff. ”

Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health has established a priority order for the vaccine to be administered. The reason for the priority order is the limited number of doses available.

The first groups to receive the vaccine are those with the highest risk of exposure to the virus or the highest risk of severe illness if they are infected.

Phase 1c will include other essential workers, persons age 65 or older, and persons age 16 through 64 with certain medical conditions that place them at high risk for severe illness if they contract the virus.

An individual eligible for Phase 1a, 1b or 1c based on their employment should be registered by their employer. An individual who is eligible based on their age or medical condition can register through the local health department where they live.

People who are eligible for Phase 1b in Alexandria should submit a brief form to begin the process to register for vaccination. Anyone having difficulty with the form may call the Alexandria COVID-19 Hotline at 703-746-4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

AHD is working closely with senior-serving organizations to register residents ages 75 and older who do not have access to the internet or an email address. Those who are eligible for vaccination as part of Phase 1c can also fill out the form, but they will not be able to make a vaccination appointment until Alexandria enters that phase. Members of households may become eligible at different times, depending on their employment locations, occupations, ages, and health conditions.

Vaccination phases may vary by states and localities.

Visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus to learn more about vaccine development, safety, benefits and eligibility, as well as many other resources to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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