This memo just in Friday morning from April Achter, the population health coordinator for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District that includes Culpeper County:
"We understand that our community is facing a great deal of stress about how to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination. We are working hard to get the vaccine to our residents as quickly as we can.
"The Pfizer vaccine arrived first, and went to healthcare facilities with ultra-cold storage capacity. Our hospital systems were very busy with the task of immunizing their staff. Healthcare personnel that directly care for COVID-19 patients received top priority.
"Next, the health district received a shipment of Moderna vaccine and began vaccinating personnel identified in the Phase 1a group, such as health care workers who fall outside of a hospital system, as well as other front-line workers such as EMS and local law enforcement.
"The majority of long term care facilities (LTCF) in Virginia will receive vaccinations from CVS and Walgreens through a federal CDC-pharmacy-LTCF partnership.
"As part of this effort, we are registering patients through a central portal on rrhd.org. Residents that are eligible for vaccination during Phase 1a and 1b may let us know they are interested in receiving COVID-19 vaccine by filling out the appropriate survey.
"We, along with our partners, are contacting individuals to schedule appointments in the order their survey response was received and our vaccine inventory levels allow. The process to vaccinate all interested persons is likely to occur over many months. As much as possible our clinics will remain appointment based, to both minimize crowding and avoid long lines.
"We will also coordinate targeted outreach to at risk populations, and work to get vaccine into our private pharmacies and doctor’s offices. All of these strategies provide opportunities to quickly and efficiently vaccinate our residents. Four pharmacies in the health district received a very small amount of vaccine in January. Two primary care offices were selected to assist with our vaccination efforts because they have completed CDC provider agreements, are offering after hours and/or weekend vaccination clinics, and have the capacity to store vaccine at ultra-cold temperatures.
"This continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. The amount of vaccine received in Virginia will be a moving target, and depend on when and how quickly vaccination doses are manufactured. As amounts increase and/or additional providers are eligible to receive and administer vaccine, we will re-evaluate.
"Please monitor our Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/RappRapHD ), webpage ( www.rrhd.org ) and VDH's COVID-19 Vaccine webpage ( https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/ ) for information regarding when additional vaccine capacity is available in our district and/or when other vaccination sites such as local doctors and pharmacies are available.
"We are receiving many questions regarding how the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District (RRHD) compares to other jurisdictions in Virginia. To address these concerns, I reviewed the data. For reference, you may find it here: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine-summary/. RRHD is a multijurisdictional health district, covering a very large geographic area with a small but mighty team. RRHD serves Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange, and Rappahannock. As the graph illustrates, all of our counties are outperforming areas highlighted due to mass vaccination clinics with one exception – Fairfax has a higher rate than Madison County. In an effort to address this, we have collaborated with Culpeper Medical Center and Madison County to hold special pop-up clinics. Our neighboring health district, Lord Fairfax (which includes Winchester), has spectacular vaccination rates due to Valley Health’s strong community outreach efforts.
"Our goal is to have everyone vaccinated by this summer. This is a long process; please be patient. In the interim, please continue to watch your distance, wear your mask, and wash your hands."