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Central Shenandoah Health District updates COVID-19 vaccine appointment process

Moderna Covid-19 vaccine filling a needle for administering the vaccine. Feb. 17, 2021
Moderna Covid-19 vaccine filling a needle for administering the vaccine. Feb. 17, 2021(WBTV)
Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 6:47 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The Central Shenandoah Health District is transitioning their COVID-19 vaccine clinic appointment process from invitation-only to a combination of invitation-only and posting appointment slots on our website starting Sunday, March 7th.

“We want to be as efficient as possible and get as many people vaccinated in our community as we can so as we streamline things and make things more user friendly, It is just a win win for everybody,” Marsha Rodeffer with CSHD explained.

CSHD will post available appointment slots for the next day’s clinics at 12:00 p.m. on its website. The appointments are based on vaccine availability. CSHD will continue to use the State Pre-Registration database to pull names of eligible persons and invite them to our clinics first.

“Let’s say that today we have 500 and we’ve reach out to 500 people in our community that are in the phase and we only get 300 responses and it is now noon on Sunday, that would then open up those extra 200 spots,” Rodeffer said.

CSHD released the following information to further explain the changes:

How will you be able to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment with CSHD?

Persons who are pre-registered will receive priority access to vaccine appointments. CSHD will first notify eligible persons who are pre-registered on the State Pre-Registration System. Invites will be sent 2-5 days before a clinic. They will also call individuals who indicate that they do not have an email. If there are still appointment slots that need to be filled for a clinic, they will make those slots available on our website the day before at 12:00 p.m.

Why is the CSHD COVID-19 vaccine appointment process changing?

The supply of COVID-19 vaccines has increased, and CSHD expects that increase to continue over the coming weeks, meaning they will have more vaccine appointments available to eligible groups.

Over the past week, CSHD’s appointment uptake from the pre-registration links sent via email has been low. They email and call pre-registered, eligible persons with invitations to our clinics. We understand that there are many people who missed these vaccine appointment invitations. To help those who may have missed our emails or calls, we are adding available COVID-19 vaccination appointment slots on our website. We hope to make appointments more accessible to eligible community members and provide another way to register for an appointment. Our goal is to get vaccines in arms as quickly, efficiently, and equitably as possible.

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine appointments posted on the CSHD website?

Central Shenandoah Health District is still vaccinating essential workers and persons in Phase 1a and Phase 1b. This includes persons who are 65 years of age and older as well as persons aged 16-64 with high risk medical conditions or disabilities that increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19 who live or work in the Central Shenandoah Health District. CSHD has started to open vaccination opportunities to this group of persons aged 16-64 with high risk medical conditions, beginning with persons aged 50-64 years with high risk medical conditions. We will be expanding our clinics to others in this eligibility category in the coming weeks.

Essential workers in Phase 1a and Phase 1b will need to pre-register at vaccinate.virginia.gov. CSHD will continue to invite essential workers to vaccine opportunities using the Pre-registration Database. Individuals who are dually eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine due to age, medical condition, and occupation are able to access these appointment slots on our website if they meet the requirements.

To summarize, these appointment slots are only available for individuals who meet the age and medical condition requirements and live or work in the Central Shenandoah Health District. If you are an essential worker and do not meet the age and medical condition requirement, then you will be invited to specific clinics for Phase 1a healthcare workers and Phase 1b essential workers in the Central Shenandoah Health District who are identified through the pre-registration system.

The scheduling system does not have the capability of screening registrants based on eligibility criteria. Even if you receive a system-generated confirmation, if you do not meet the eligibility criteria, your appointment will be canceled.

Do you accept walk-in appointments?

We do not accept walk-up appointments. If you do not have an appointment, you will not be given a vaccine. Please check the website for other vaccine opportunities.

How will essential workers have access to the COVID-19 vaccine?

The clinics listed above are for those persons aged 65+ and those aged 50-64 with high risk health conditions. We will continue to offer invite-only clinics for Phase 1b essential workers and Phase 1a healthcare workers.

Should I still pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine on vaccinate.virginia.gov?

Yes. You should still pre-register. We are still contacting people by phone and email to schedule appointments. Persons who are pre-registered will receive priority access to vaccine appointments. If there are appointment slots left over within 24 hours of a clinic, then we will post those available appointments to our website at 12:00 PM the day before a clinic

How is CSHD using the pre-registration data?

We are using the pre-registration to call or email those pre-registered with vaccine registration information. If all of the slots are not filled by the people we call or email, we will post the clinic scheduling information on this website.

Is this the only way to get a vaccine appointment in the Central Shenandoah Health District?

No. We are still using the pre-registration data to contact people to schedule appointments. Our healthcare partners are also scheduling appointments for their own clinics. The Federal Pharmacy Partnership is also expanding and there will be opportunities to get vaccines through local retail pharmacies.

Is it important to be aware of vaccine scams. All COVID-19 vaccines are free and you will never be asked for your credit card information or social security number. Things to keep in mind:

Do not pay to put your name on a priority list

Do not pay to get early access to the vaccine

Do not pay out of pocket for the vaccine

Vaccines are not solicited door-to-door

What if I do not have access to the internet, computer, etc.?

The health department is still calling people to make vaccine appointments. Please make sure that you pre-register by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling the COVID-19 Vaccine Information Center 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (1-877-829-4682). We are using the pre-registration information to call people with appointments.

How will we know what the eligibility requirements are?

We will post the eligibility information with each clinic date. Currently, CSHD is only vaccinating those aged 65+ and 50-64 with high risk medical conditions or disabilities that increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19 through the clinics posted on this website. We will continue to offer invite-only clinics for essential workers in Phase 1b and healthcare workers in Phase 1a. We are contacting those individuals for appointments through email and phone calls.

What are “high risk medical conditions or disabilities that increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19”?

Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for a list of conditions and disabilities: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html

Why are there clinics only in Rockbridge and Rockingham Counties?

These appointments are for high volume, mass vaccination clinics. We are working with our healthcare partners in Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro to provide similar opportunities in that area. We are also working with healthcare partners in Bath and Highland to provide vaccines to those communities.

Can I go to a clinic if I live outside of the Central Shenandoah Health District?

These clinics are only for those who live or work in the Central Shenandoah Health District. The Central Shenandoah Health District includes the following counties:

    • Augusta County
    • Bath County
    • Highland County
    • Rockbridge County
    • Rockingham County

And the following cities:

    • Buena Vista City
    • Harrisonburg City
    • Lexington City
    • Staunton City
    • Waynesboro City

Can I go to a clinic if I live in Central Shenandoah Health District but do not live in the locality where the clinic is being held?

You can attend a vaccine clinic in a locality where you do not live as long as you live and work in the Central Shenandoah Health District. Again, these clinics are only for those who live or work in the Central Shenandoah Health District:

The Central Shenandoah Health District includes the following counties:

  • Augusta County
  • Bath County
  • Highland County
  • Rockbridge County
  • Rockingham County

And the following cities:

  • Buena Vista City
  • Harrisonburg City
  • Lexington City
  • Staunton City
  • Waynesboro City

Why was my appointment cancelled?

We will be checking the list every night and we will cancel your appointment if you are not aged 65+ or aged 50-64 with a high risk medical condition or disability that increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Even with a system-generated confirmation, the appointment will be canceled if you do not match criteria at the time of the appointment.

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