COLUMN — Don’t sit by the phone waiting for a vaccine appointment
Published 3:46 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2021
If you are an older adult in the Piedmont Health District, you may be a little confused about how the registration process for getting a COVID-19 vaccine works.
To be confused about this is completely understandable. When Phase 1b was first opened up in Virginia, a lot of residents didn’t know where they were supposed to go to get on the list of vaccine recipients. The process was a bit disorderly. Nobody knew who to call or what to do.
Since then, Virginia has established vaccinate.virginia.gov. The website is a “one-stop-shop” for pre-registering for the coronavirus vaccine. There’s also a hotline, 1-877-VAX-IN-VA, that you can call if you are not good with computers or don’t own one.
These are two excellent resources, but I worry personally that there are still many, many seniors in our area who don’t know the importance of these two things.
The vaccination registration process is one of self-advocacy. If you are sitting at home thinking that a health department employee has a list of all Lunenburg residents and they are calling up people one by one to register them, your phone call will likely never come.
I want to make this clear as I worry many do not know it yet — you will not be contacted by your local health department with a date and time to get the vaccine until you pre-register. If you want to get the vaccine, you or a loved one must call the hotline or go to the vaccinate.virginia.gov website. Until you have pre-registered using one of these methods, you will not be contacted to attend a vaccination clinic event.
On Friday, March 12, Lunenburg County will conduct its first large vaccine distribution event at Central High School. This is a very exciting opportunity, but you will not be able to take advantage of events like this in the future if you do not pre-register for the vaccine.
Please, if you or a family member are interested in obtaining your COVID-19 vaccine, go to the vaccinate.virginia.gov website. It took me less time to register my loved ones than it takes me to brush my teeth in the morning. The questions were very simple, and I was even given a registration key to check the status of their registration in the future.
If you are not a computer person, you can dial the vaccine hotline or have a friend or loved one do it for you. There are also local organizations like Piedmont Senior Resources that will help you to get pre-registered if you’d prefer a more local touch.
If you have questions about the vaccine, including questions about safety and effectiveness, log on to https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-faq/vaccination/.
This has been a very stressful and overwhelming time, especially for our community’s older adults. It’s my hope that our area seniors will have a clear understanding of how to get the vaccine.
Alexa Massey is a staff reporter for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Alexa.Massey@KVDispatch.com.