BRHD Vaccine Allocation & Distribution
This week marks one year since the first positive COVID-19 case in the Blue Ridge Health District (BRHD). Since then, over 13,880 people in BRHD have tested positive for COVID-19 and, unfortunately, 197 of those have lost their lives to this horrible infection. These individuals and their loved ones are in our thoughts. As we continue to work together to slow the spread, and with COVID-19 vaccines becoming more widely available, we are hopeful that everyone will find a new sense of normalcy soon. 

BRHD continues to provide vaccines to individuals in Phase 1A, 1B essential workers, individuals ages 65 and older, and those ages 16-64 with high risk medical conditions. To date, over 98,140 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in our District and more are to come! 74% of pre-registrants ages 65+ in BRHD have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. BRHD expanded last week to begin vaccinating individuals ages 16-64 with high risk medical conditions and already 16% of these pre-registrants have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine.

Next week, BRHD will see another increase in COVID-19 vaccine supply. BRHD will receive 11,600 COVID-19 vaccines, including 5,800 first doses - 2,000 of which will be Johnson & Johnson vaccines. These vaccines will be allocated throughout the District, including at BRHD’s new vaccine center at the former JCPenny store in Fashion Square Mall in Charlottesville, Va.

The increase in vaccine supply is welcomed as BRHD staff and volunteers have been working diligently alongside community partners to reach the many BRHD residents eligible under Phases 1A and 1B as quickly as possible. We anticipate that in the coming weeks BRHD’s allotment of vaccine will continue to increase significantly. By early April, we will see a very substantial increase in vaccine supply and we will begin allocating more doses to local primary care providers and pharmacies making vaccine appointments more accessible to rural residents.
New BRHD COVID-19 Vaccine Center at former JCPenny location + Kmart Site to Close
We are excited to announce the launch of our new vaccination site in the former JCPenney store in the Fashion Square Mall (1639 Rio Road E, Charlottesville, Va.) on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. With the increased capacity of the new JCPenney location, BRHD will be closing the Kmart location on Hydraulic Road. The last vaccine clinic at the KMart location will take place on Friday, March 19, 2021. All second dose appointments that were previously scheduled for Kmart will now be scheduled at the JCPenny site. 

This new JCPenny location will allow BRHD to operate four days per week at an increased appointment capacity. As our vaccine supply increases, we will operate five to six days per week with expanded hours. Vaccine clinics will remain by appointment only, serving primarily individuals in 1A, 1B workers, and individuals ages 16-64 with high risk medical conditions. We are continuing our partnership with UVA Health on vaccinating individuals ages 65+ at the Seminole Square site. 

We are thankful for Red Light Management, the Bama Works Foundation, Riverbend Development, Skyline Tent Company, and Martin Horn for helping to mobilize our first mass vaccination site in the former Kmart parking lot. 

We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude for helping us launch our new mass vaccination site to Richard Hewitt, the owner of the former JCPenny space, Tim Slagle with Seminole Trail Properties, Albemarle County, and the Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle County Emergency Communications Center. We are grateful for our community partners who are committed to COVID-19 vaccine efforts. Tim Slagle, CEO of Seminole Trail Properties shared, “We are delighted to assist the Blue Ridge Health District in this mass vaccination effort to help the community get through the COVID-19 crisis.”
Switch to VAMS for Vaccine Scheduling
(No longer using PrepMod or EventBrite)
BRHD is officially switching to use the CDC's Vaccine Administration Management System ("VAMS") for scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments throughout the District. We previously used VAMS in January but then switched to PrepMod. Due to issues with PrepMod link-sharing, we temporarily used EventBrite to schedule appointments. Since then, many updates have been made to the VAMS system to make it software that will make registration and inventory tracking easier. BRHD will no longer use PrepMod or EventBrite.

When: BRHD will begin to use VAMS effective Thursday, March 18, 2021 for our JCPenny site and clinics in surrounding counties.

How VAMS Works: BRHD will upload individuals' information into VAMS by order received in the VDH pre-registration database and cross-reference with employer line lists. Individuals will then receive an email from VAMS (like from vams@cdc.gov or no-reply@mail.vams.cdc.gov) to create an account and then to select an appointment time at one of BRHD"s vaccine clinics. Individuals experiencing VAMS issues can call the BRHD hotline from Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm or email vams@cdc.gov.

It is important to note that VAMS works best in the Google Chrome web browser but can be accessed via any browser except Internet Explorer. VAMS also works on Android and iOS mobile devices.
BRHD Equity Policy Group
Equity is fundamental to all decisions on who, where and how to vaccinate. Current evidence shows that COVID-19 disproportionately affects Black, Hispanic or Latinx, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. Much of the increased risk of COVID-19 in these communities and others is tied to social risk and structural inequality, e.g., disproportionate representation in high-risk jobs in essential industries. In the BRHD, Black people are the only demographic group that is overrepresented in hospitalizations and deaths, for hospitalizations – 2.5x the case rate. Latinx people are the only demographic that is overrepresented in cases, in this case 2.5x the population rate.

BRHD recently convened an Equity Policy Group with representatives from BRHD, the County of Albemarle, the City of Charlottesville, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, UVA Health, and the University of Virginia to review national equity frameworks and develop a local strategy on equitable vaccine communication, allocation and distribution. Objectives of this strategy are to:
  • Provide equitable and timely access to COVID-19 vaccine and culturally appropriate education to communities at the highest risk of COVID hospitalization and death
  • Ensure open, transparent communications and information sharing including demographic data on vaccination, testing and cases

This strategy will be revised based on updated data and feedback from community leaders in each locality. 
Everyone Should Pre-Register Now for a
COVID-19 Vaccine
Everyone should pre-register now for their free COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of which phase they fall into. If you are already pre-registered, you should verify your information and update your record now by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or calling 877-VAX-IN-VA, because additional questions have been added to the pre-registration form.

To pre-register, you may:
  • Visit vaccinate.virginia.gov
  • Call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) open 8am-8pm daily. Language interpreters available. TTY users dial 7-1-1.
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. We need to continue with mitigation strategies until 75% of the population is fully vaccinated. This includes wearing face masks, maintaining physical distance, washing hands frequently and properly, and limiting indoor social gatherings with other households.