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(Newport News, Va.) -- Beginning, January 22, 2021, the Peninsula Health District will begin closed “points of dispensing” (POD’s) COVID-19 vaccination clinics specifically for “Phase 1b” priority groups. Our focus will be front line workers, those living in congregate settings and people 75 years of age and over. These individuals will be required to bring a form of identification such as a driver’s license and a work ID when applicable, in order to verify eligibility. Other sectors Phase 1b will be added as more vaccine becomes available and we expand our vaccinator pool.“Thanks to the help of our local health systems, we are able to begin providing vaccine to the 1b priority groups while continuing to vaccinate 1a health care providers,” said Dr. Natasha Dwamena, Health District Director. “Vaccine supply remains limited. So we are starting with the people most at risk for infection and death. On the Peninsula that is people over 75 years and older, those living in congregate setting.”Planning teams are reaching out to employers in Phase 1b. And soon the District will implement an automated scheduling system. In the meantime, priority Phase 1b individuals should use the link on our website to register. Or dial 757-594-7496 and leave your information at the prompt. All POD’s and vaccination clinics are by appointment only. Eligible people will be called in the order in which the call was received.As availability of the vaccine increases, Virginia will move to the other phases. Phase 1c will include other essential workers and people 16 and older with underlying medical conditions. The complete definitions of all phases, data and other information, are on VDH’s Vaccine Response website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/. Citizens can take this brief survey to find out which vaccination phase they fall under.Virginians who do not fall into priority phases will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when it is more widely available. Once the vaccine is rolled out to the general public, distribution will be similar to the flu vaccine. People will be able to get the vaccine from a local pharmacy, primary care physician, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)/free clinic, local health department or other clinic that is participating as a COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider.In the meantime, it is important to remain vigilant in COVID-19 prevention. Continue to protect yourself and others: cover your mouth and nose with a mask, wash your hands often and well, stay at least six feet away from others, avoid gatherings with anyone who is not a member of your household and get a flu shot.You can learn more about the vaccine, its safety and answers to frequently asked questions at VDH’s website and CDC’s website.Media Contact: Irene Ferrainolo firstname.lastname@example.org 757-594-8933