All Virginians age 16 and older are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Sunday’s expanded eligibility comes as Virginia reached a new milestone in its vaccination program, with approximately half of all adults in the Commonwealth having received at least one dose.
Calling it “an exciting new phase” of Virginia’s vaccination program, Gov. Ralph Northam shared a new video message encouraging Virginians seeking a vaccination opportunity to call the statewide call center or use the new Vaccinate Virginia website to find vaccine providers.
Northam said, “If you are over 16 and want to get the safe, effective, and free vaccine, please make a plan to get your shot. The more people who get vaccinated, the faster we can end this pandemic and get back to our normal lives.”
He noted that it may take a few weeks to get appointments for everyone.
With this move into Phase 2, appointments will still be required for most vaccinations.
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Virginians are able to find and schedule appointments directly through the Vaccinate Virginia vaccine system by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 711).
Only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for teens aged 16 and 17. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (which is currently not being administered) vaccines are approved for ages 18 and up.
Virginia’s expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility comes as the first cases of the so-called Brazil COVID-19 variant have been identified in two samples from residents, according to state health officials on Friday.
The Virginia Department of Health said one case involving the P.1 variant was identified in an adult resident of the Northwest Region who had a history of domestic travel during the exposure period.
The second case was identified in an adult resident of the Eastern Region with no history of travel, the department said.
Neither case had a record of COVID-19 vaccination before the onset of the illness, according to the department.
WTOP’s Matt Small and The Associated Press contributed to this report.