Update on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Today, the federal government paused all future Johnson & Johnson vaccinations while they investigate an extremely rare possible side effect. As a result, the Blue Ridge Health District and our vaccination partners will not administer Johnson & Johnson vaccines until further notice. 

Currently, there are six known cases of this possible side effect out of 6.8 million doses administered. Anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develops severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider or call 911 if it is a medical emergency.

Individuals in BRHD who were scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a partnering provider or pharmacy may reschedule their appointment for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine provided by the Blue Ridge Health District. To access an appointment, please visit https://register.vams.cdc.gov/?jurisdiction=BR.

Vaccines: Allocation & Distribution
This week, BRHD is receiving a decreased weekly vaccine supply. Additionally, effective immediately, BRHD is ceasing all administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinics until further notice. 

For the week of April 12, BRHD will receive the following vaccine supply:
  • Pfizer 1st Dose = 5,850
  • Pfizer 2nd Dose = 1,170
  • Moderna 1st Dose = 3,330
  • Moderna 2nd Dose = 800

About one-third of vaccine doses in Virginia are now being administered by retail pharmacy locations. While many pharmacies have continued to work directly with local health districts to vaccinate vulnerable populations, some pharmacies have online scheduling open to the public. Pharmacy scheduling and locations, as well as reallocation of their Johnson & Johnson supply can be found at VaccineFinder.org.
Monday, April 12: Phase 2
On Monday, April 12th, BRHD opened Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, meaning everyone in the District ages 16+ is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Commonwealth requires all Districts to move to Phase 2 by April 18.

To provide better access to scheduling appointments, BRHD has created a direct access link to the VAMS appointment system. This link will allow all eligible users to schedule an appointment at a future BRHD vaccine clinic. Appointments may not be available right away, but Virginia’s goal is that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get at least one dose by the end of May.

On Monday, BRHD sent invitations to individuals in Phase 2 who were pre-registered in the state system (approximately 45,000 people). The email invites were sent through the CDC VAMS system, using a “CDC.gov” email address. If you do not see this email, be sure to check your spam and promotions folder.

If you previously had a VAMS account (in January), try logging in again as you will not receive another email invite. If you have forgotten your password or need technical assistance, follow the prompts on the VAMS website.
A JCP Partnership: PVCC Nursing Program
The Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) Nursing Program has been a long-standing contributor to the healthcare community in this region, providing well-skilled and educated nurses to area medical teams since 1972. Currently, PVCC faculty and nursing students are partnering with the Blue Ridge Health District in administering COVID-19 vaccines and staffing the BRHD COVID-19 hotline.

The two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN) program at PVCC prepares students to provide direct patient care as entry-level clinicians in a structured care setting. Graduates of the ADN program are eligible to apply for licensure to become registered nurses (RN). The one-year practical nursing program (PN) graduates of the PVCC LPN program are eligible to apply for licensure as licensed practical nurses. Practical nurses are equipped to care for clients of all ages in long-term care settings, physician offices, clinics, and dialysis centers. Both types of nurses are needed in our community to assist with quality care for all ages.

We are thrilled to welcome PVCC Nursing Program students to our COVID response efforts and are thankful for their dedication moving forward!
Another Resource: COVID Care Support Services
The COVID-19 Care Support Services program is available to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 that reside in Charlottesville/Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, and Nelson. The program offers delivery of food and other basic necessities, as well as connection to other resources in an individual's community. Some resources include financial assistance, employment, and mental health services.

Individuals can be referred to the program by a Case Investigator or can reach out to the Care Resource Coordinator directly at (434) 981-4103.
A Visit to BRHD: Senator Mark Warner
Last week, U.S. Senator Mark Warner visited our JCPenney vaccine site to meet with local leaders and thank our staff and volunteers for their hard work. Senator Warner had the opportunity to observe the flow of the clinic and talk with the staff and volunteers who keep operations running smoothly. He then met with local leaders, including the Blue Ridge Health District, the Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle Emergency Communications Center, Charlottesville Fire Department, Albemarle County Fire and Rescue, and the County of Albemarle, to discuss the triumphs and challenges faced during COVID-19 response efforts.
Free COVID-19 Testing in BRHD
While we work to vaccinate the District, BRHD continues to offer free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing. Each event will have the capacity to test 200 persons: 100 pre-registered clients and 100 walk-ins.

Free pediatric COVID-19 testing for children of any age is offered as part of the Friday testing events at Buford Middle School (1000 Cherry Ave Charlottesville, 22903). Pediatric testing is available from 5:30 - 8:00pm.

For a complete list of free drive-thru COVID-19 testing events in April, visit the BRHD website.

FRIDAY, April 16, from 4:00-8:00pm
  • Buford Middle School, 1000 Cherry Avenue. Charlottesville 22901
  • Appointments can be scheduled on April 14 and April 15 by calling 434-972-6261

TUESDAY, April 20, from 4:00-7:00pm
  • Emmanuel Christian Center, 111 New Life Drive, Ruckersville 22968
  • Appointments can be scheduled on April 16 and April 19 by calling 434-972-6261
Remember, vaccination is only one tool to end the pandemic. We need to use them all in order to return to normal day-to-day activities, once 75% of the population is fully vaccinated. Continue to wear face masks, maintain physical distance, wash hands frequently and properly, and limit indoor social gatherings with other households.