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For the latest COVID-19 information, visit vcuhealth.org/covid-19 or Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU for pediatrics. For vaccine details, visit vcuhealth.org/covidvaccine.

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Our COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

Emma Childs getting the COVID-19 vaccine Emma Childs receives her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo: Katie Barnes)

Update (Feb. 22): Please visit our most recent update on COVID-19 vaccination efforts for the latest information.

We are glad many of our patients are eager to be vaccinated against COVID-19. We understand how difficult it is not knowing when it will be your turn to receive the vaccine. After a year living in this time of uncertainty, the vaccine has given us hope for better days ahead and is an important step toward ending this deadly pandemic.

Although the process may seem slow, every person who gets vaccinated moves us closer to our goal.

Our commitment to you

VCU Health is committed to providing the best and safest care to all our patients. We are working with state and local health departments to offer our patients the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly and safely as possible. We are distributing the COVID-19 vaccine according to Virginia Department of Health guidelines.

Vaccine supply

Like every health care institution in the country, we are limited in our vaccination efforts by the amount of vaccine we receive. We receive our supply from the local health district, and they receive their supply from the state. At the moment, we face a nationwide vaccine shortage.

Our vaccination strategy

Due to our limited supply and the overwhelming interest in the vaccine, we are first vaccinating our oldest, most vulnerable patients age 75 and older. Cancer and transplant patients who meet current state guidelines fall into this category. Due to our limited vaccine supply, patients of a similar age may not be vaccinated at the same time.

We have a “zero waste” commitment for COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines now approved for use have short shelf lives once defrosted. If a dose would expire due to a missed appointment, we will offer it to another eligible patient with an existing in-person appointment.

When we have vaccines available, we will contact eligible patients by phone call or text message to make a vaccination appointment. For patients who are not contacted at this time, we ask for patience. Appointments are required to receive your vaccine at one of our clinics. We do not accept walk-ins.

If your local health department, pharmacy or other health care facility offers you the vaccine sooner, we encourage you to get it there. As we receive more vaccine, we will offer appointments to more patients, per state distribution guidelines.

Our preparations

We currently have several outpatient vaccination clinics that are fully operational. If we have sufficient vaccine supply, we are prepared to vaccinate up to 3,000 eligible patients per week at these clinics. We aim to vaccinate as many patients as possible with first doses and schedule second doses during that same visit.

Our goal is to provide second dose vaccinations within the designated schedules.  Due to the national vaccine shortage, we may need to postpone your second dose. If this occurs, your second dose will still take place within a safe time frame, consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The delay will not impact the benefits of the vaccine.  We will contact you directly if we need to reschedule your appointment.

Community outreach

It is central to our mission to serve all Virginians. This includes a deep commitment to protecting our most vulnerable community members. Through a partnership with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, we are offering vaccines through our VCU Health community vaccination clinic at the VCU Health Hub at 25th, located in Richmond’s East End. We are recruiting for these clinics from the surrounding community.

In addition, our VCU and VCU Health communities have formed a volunteer corps of students, faculty and staff that will help us, and local health departments, with vaccinating community members.  We are proud to engage our team members and students to support community vaccination events.

This is a complex vaccination program that could take several months, and vaccine supply may take time to catch up with public demand. As we await more vaccine, we must all continue taking important precautions to help slow the spread of the virus. This includes wearing a mask, frequent hand washing, social distancing and limiting gatherings.