COVID-19 Vaccination Prioritization and Information

12/14/2020

Naturally, many of you have been contacting our office asking where you fall in the COVID-19 vaccination prioritization list. Virginia has received approximately 450,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for immediate distribution during the first distribution effort. The vaccine distribution has been prioritized by the State and the Virginia Department of Health. As a Health Care Worker you have been included in the initial vaccination effort. Health care personnel that directly care for COVID-19 patients will receive top priority among health care providers. The vaccination prioritization order for Healthcare Workers in Phase 1a is further defined to aid in allocation of scares resources. You will fall under Phase 1A – IV. 

Phase 1aPhase 1a continued

Health care personnel are defined as paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. 

Until such time as all healthcare personnel in the Commonwealth are vaccinated, allocations of future shipments should be prioritized to the maximum extent possible toward vaccinating healthcare personnel to ensure a sufficient workforce amid the growing number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization. 

HOW TO FIND A VACCINE: VaccineFinder

Specific to Phase 1A – IV vaccinations (Health Care Workers). As of 12/14/2020 the VDH has told the us that they “are examining how to best connect non-hospital healthcare staff such as yourself to sites that are administering COVID-19 vaccinations. We are in the planning process now and hope to release more information shortly.” Once we have more information on this we’ll let you know. Also please consider contacting your local health department to discuss vaccination opportunities. A list of local health departments is available at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/health-department-locator/.

Once the vaccination is more widely available check back with websites such as VaccineFinder.  When COVID-19 vaccine supply is limited, data reported will only be used for vaccine inventory information—not as a resource to help the public find vaccine. When vaccine is more widely available, providers will be notified that the VaccineFinder public-facing website will be turned on to show COVID-19 vaccination locations. This will allow the public to know where they can go to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. VaccineFinder will be updated once COVID-19 vaccination is widely available to the public to help direct people to find a vaccine provider near them.

CAN I REQUIRE MY STAFF TO HAVE THE VACCINE?

Additionally, we’ve been asked whether or not you can you require your employees to get vaccinated? The short answer is yes but with some exceptions. Virginia is an “employment-at-will” state, meaning terms and conditions are set by the business. There are some exceptions, however, including disabilities and religious beliefs. An employer can make a vaccination a requirement if you want to continue working there. But there are significant exceptions for potential concerns related to any disability you may have and for religious beliefs that prohibit vaccinations. And experts say that employers are more likely to simply encourage their workers to get immunized rather that issue a company-wide mandate. (Information gathered from *Can employers force workers to get COVID-19 vaccine? 8News (wric.com)*


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All doctor members of the Virginia Optometric Association are licensed to practice Optometry in Virginia.

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