The original item was published from February 4, 2021 2:38 PM to February 5, 2021 4:15 PM
The Loudoun County Health Department continues to vaccinate over a thousand people daily and to schedule appointments for those who are in Phase 1a and Phase 1b of Virginia’s vaccination priority groups
. The Health Department’s ability to schedule more vaccination appointments is currently limited by the amount of vaccine received each week.
The demand for vaccine across the region continues to be far greater than the available vaccine supply. At this time, Loudoun’s vaccine supply is expected to remain limited until at least March. As a result, if you have submitted a COVID-19 vaccine pre-screening survey to the Loudoun County Health Department, we ask for your continued patience as we work around the clock to facilitate vaccinations as quickly as possible.
We know there are many questions and many residents are anxious about the pace of vaccine distribution. To help you understand the challenges jurisdictions across our region are currently facing, below is additional explanation of the current process for coordinating COVID-19 vaccinations for the Loudoun community.
Vaccine Pre-screening Survey List
On January 11, 2021, the Health Department invited people who are currently eligible for vaccine to submit pre-screening surveys. We have been collecting responses for the last 4 weeks.
- The list of people who have submitted pre-screening surveys has grown to more than 60,000 people, and we are receiving more pre-screening surveys each day. The vast majority of these people have not yet been offered a vaccination appointment.
- If you have already submitted a pre-screening survey, please do not submit another. Multiple submissions will not increase how quickly you will receive a vaccine appointment; they only increase the amount of data we must sort.
- The Health Department is systematically working through a database of people who have signed up to receive vaccine. We are contacting individuals in the order received for appointments as vaccine supplies allow and in accordance with a state-mandated allocation formula between priority groups.
- Please be patient. We understand that waiting weeks—or even months—after you submit your pre-screening survey for an appointment is not ideal. Unfortunately, due to the limited supply of vaccine, it likely will be several to many weeks before your turn for a vaccination appointment comes up, depending on where you fall in the currently eligible priority groups and when you submitted your survey.
- If you are eligible in the Phase 1a and Phase 1b priority groups and you have not already done so, you may begin the process of registering for a vaccine by submitting a pre-screening survey online.
The Loudoun County Health Department is required to offer vaccine to people according to Virginia’s vaccine prioritization plans. We are currently in Phase 1a and 1b of this plan. About half of Virginia’s population is currently eligible for vaccine in Phase 1a and Phase 1b.
It is important to understand that within Phase 1b, Virginia has further prioritized essential workers into nine categories. Loudoun is currently focused on the priority groups highlighted in red.
- Health care personnel
- Residents of long-term care facilities (handled by pharmacies)
- People age 65 and older
- People age 16–64 with underlying health conditions
- Front-line essential workers
- Police, fire and hazmat
- Corrections and homeless shelter workers
- Child Care/PreK-12 teachers/staff
- Food and agriculture (including veterinarians)
- Grocery store workers
- Public transit workers
- Mail carriers (USPS and private)
- Officials needed to maintain continuity of government (including judges and public- facing judicial workers)
As these highest priority groups are vaccinated and as vaccine supplies increase, appointments will be offered to other essential workers in the Phase 1b, sub-priority groups 4 through 9, as defined under Frontline Essential Workers by Order of Vaccination Planning
How Loudoun is Prioritizing Vaccination Appointments
When you submit your pre-screening survey to us, you let us know which priority group you fall into. We are contacting people according to the Virginia’s mandated priorities and
in the order requests were received. In addition, we are required to allocate half of our weekly vaccine supply to people age 65 and older. The remaining half of vaccine is allocated to others in the Phase 1a and 1b priority groups. This requirement also influences how the available appointments are distributed to those on our waitlist.
Current Status of Our Waitlist
Loudoun County’s pre-screening survey and registration form has been used over 95,000 times, which demonstrates the high demand for vaccine in our community. We currently estimate that as of February 3, more than 60,000 unique individuals have submitted pre-screening surveys to preregister for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Communication With You After Submitting Your Pre-screening Survey
- We are currently working to offer as many appointments as possible, which is dependent on our weekly vaccine supply, to those individuals who submitted pre-screening surveys before January 13 and who are also in the highest priority groups identified above.
- If you submitted a pre-screening survey on January 14 or later, we have not yet been able to offer appointments due to the limited supply of vaccine. As soon as vaccine becomes available, we will prioritize appointments according to Virginia’s mandated plans.
- It is difficult to estimate when you will be contacted for a vaccination appointment because we cannot predict how much vaccine will become available to Loudoun more than one week in advance. Our best estimate is that anyone who submitted a pre-screening survey on January 14 or later may have to wait more than 6 weeks before their turn comes up.
- Based on the number of people who have already signed up and the current number of doses Loudoun is receiving each week, it could take 12 weeks to get through the current waitlist. Our hope is that the amount of vaccine Loudoun receives will increase significantly so that we can speed up the rate at which can offer appointments to people on the waitlist.
- We anticipate that the long wait for vaccination appointments will continue through at least March. Until vaccine supplies increase significantly, we cannot vaccinate more people any more quickly than we are currently. The single factor limiting the number of people who are receiving vaccine now, is the vaccine supply. Loudoun County is prepared to vaccinate many more people daily when vaccine supplies allow.
- To date, more than 32,000 Loudoun residents have been vaccinated—more than 5,100 of those have received both doses of vaccine. You can follow the number of doses provided in Loudoun and across our region on the Virginia Department of Health’s
(Additional Information as of 2/5/2021)
Many of you are wondering what happens after you submit your pre-screening survey online, or by phone if you do not have access to the internet. We understand that there may be an expectation that you will hear from us soon after submitting your information. Unfortunately, the wait for vaccination appointments is long due to the limited vaccine supply. As a result, you may not hear from us as quickly as you would like, but rest assured we are working as quickly as we can to schedule appointments for as many people as possible in accordance with the mandated guidelines and in the order in which people contacted us.
This is the sequence of events involved in the process of scheduling a vaccination:
- At the end of your pre-screening survey, you should see on your screen message titled “Prescreen/Registration Complete.” This informs you that you have successfully submitted your information to the Health Department.
- After you submit your pre-screening survey, your information becomes part of a database. Information from people who are interested in receiving a vaccine is maintained in the order in which it was received so that we can maintain our first-come, first-served process. In addition, we must sort people in accordance with the mandated requirements for prioritizing vaccinations. This process generates lists of people (including their email addresses and phone numbers) who are segmented into priority groups. Vaccination appointments are being offered to individuals in priority order.
- To assure those who have submitted their pre-screening surveys that their information was received by the Health Department, we are sending automatic mass emails and phone messages every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you already received one of these emails, you will not receive it again. The messages are sent only to those who have registered since the last acknowledgment notice was sent. This email is simply a courtesy notification and is not part of the appointment-making process.
- The next communication you receive will come when it is your turn to receive a vaccine. Keep in mind, you likely will be contacted for an appointment several weeks after you submit your pre-screening survey. If you submitted an email, you will receive an email. The Health Department uploads your information into the federal Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS), which automatically generates an email to you prompting you to schedule your own appointment. The email will come to you from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Those who do not have access to the internet and submitted only a phone number will receive a phone call when it’s time for your appointment.
- When you receive the email from the CDC, you will be prompted to create an account in VAMS. This will require two-factor authentication (you will receive a security code by email). The process is simple—just follow the prompts. The vaccine is free; you do not need to provide insurance information—just skip that part. At the end of the registration process, you will be prompted to schedule an appointment at Loudoun County’s vaccination site. Select the date and time desired and you will receive a confirmation email. For those who do not use the internet, we will call you and schedule the appointment over the phone.
- You will schedule your appointment for your second dose by logging into VAMS, or if you do not use the internet, we will call you to schedule the appointment by phone.
Note: Loudoun County may soon be transitioning to a new appointment system as required by the Virginia Department of Health. This will not require anyone who has already submitted pre-screening surveys to take any action. Any changes simply may impact the communications you receive when it is time to make an appointment (items 4-6 above) and the system in which those appointments are made. We will let you know if anything changes!
How Vaccine is Distributed
What You Can Do to Help
- The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is currently receiving about 105,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine each week from the federal government.
- VDH currently allocates the available doses of vaccine based on the population of each health district. Loudoun County has been receiving about 4,800 doses per week based on the population of Loudoun County. Loudoun is working around the clock to provide every available dose to people as quickly as possible each week.
- The Loudoun County Health Department is tasked with distributing vaccine to other providers who are registered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as authorized vaccine providers. This could include pharmacies and health care providers. When vaccine supplies are limited as they currently are, the Health Department must limit allocations to other providers in the community to ensure that every available dose is administered as quickly as possible to people who are in the defined priority groups.
- As stated above, the Health Department also is following state requirements, which includes allocating 50 percent of the available doses of vaccine to adults age 65 and older.
- In addition to Loudoun’s weekly allocation of vaccine from VDH, Loudoun is also receiving vaccine that is dedicated to those who need their second dose of vaccine 21 or 28 days after their first dose, depending on whether they received Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, respectively. This is why it is very important for you to get your second dose from the same place you received your first dose of vaccine.
- This vaccine distribution process is the same in all Virginia jurisdictions.
- When vaccine supply is sufficient, vaccine can be allocated to many providers in the Loudoun community. Our goal is to make vaccine available from private providers, pharmacies, occupational health clinics, etc. (similar to how you receive your annual flu shot.)
Our goal is to make sure COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone who wants it as quickly as possible. We share your frustration over the limited vaccine supply. Loudoun County is working hard to ensure vaccine is distributed in a fair, efficient and equitable manner and as quickly as possible. Many members of the county’s staff are working around the clock, 7 days a week on this effort. The COVID-19 response is our top priority.
Here’s what you can do to help us:
- If you submitted a pre-screening survey for vaccine, please be patient. There is no need to submit another survey. And there is no need to call us. We understand that the wait for an appointment is long. If you have submitted your pre-screening survey online or by phone, you will be contacted by email or phone as soon as it is your turn for a vaccination appointment.
- Please wait to be contacted for an appointment, which may be 6 weeks or more. We understand that you would like to know when you are likely to get an appointment, but it is difficult for us to estimate because too many variables influencing the vaccination efforts are out of our control. There is no need to call us to verify whether we received your information or to find out when you will get an appointment. Please allow our call center staff to take calls from residents who do not have access to the internet and from those who require information about the pandemic or need assistance with their already scheduled vaccination appointment.
- View and share this infographic of the vaccine update (PDF).
Please stay informed about this rapidly evolving situation. Visit our website. Sign up for news alerts from us. We’re working hard to provide information in a transparent manner to ensure you understand the challenges our community currently faces.
Continue Taking COVID-19 Precautions
- Additional information about the ongoing vaccination efforts will be published by the county as it becomes available. You can find up-to-date information at loudoun.gov/covid19vaccine.
- You can also sign up to receive text or email updates about COVID-19 from Loudoun County:
- As we wait for the supply of COVID-19 vaccine to catch up to demand, it is more important than ever to continue to follow all current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect yourself and your family against COVID-19. Please remember to stay home when possible, wear a face mask when out, maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others, avoid large crowds of people, and wash hands frequently.
- Even after you are vaccinated, to protect others in our community, you should continue to follow these prevention measures until further notice. Working together, we will bring an end to the pandemic soon.
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