(Update 2:05 p.m.) Fairfax County opted out of Virginia’s new COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system, but the decision seems to be causing confusion among some county residents.
The Virginia Department of Health tells Reston Now, the day after the launch (Wednesday), 542 calls from Fairfax County zip codes to the statewide COVID information line asking questions about vaccines were rerouted back to Fairfax County’s call center.
When asked about this, the Fairfax County Health Department admits that they understand the confusion.
“We understand that it could still be confusing that there are two systems,” wrote Jeremy Lasich, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Health Department. “We are happy that we have a strong partnership with VDH and that their call center is appropriately routing questions about Fairfax County back to our local call center.”
As recently as Wednesday, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay told Reston Now that forgoing the Virginia appointment system to continue with the county-only system would help out in this regard.
“I am glad we can maintain our system that residents are familiar with to cut down on confusion,” he said.
Reston Now has reached out to the Chairman’s office with this new information but has yet to hear back as of publication.
Fairfax County is the only jurisdiction to opt-out of Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccine pre- registration system.
The county maintains that they are “consistently” communicating the need to register through their system through their website, blog, social media, and other avenues.
This includes translating COVID-related materials into Spanish and sharing information via text messages from the Health Department’s outreach team.
VDH has also added language to their website directing Fairfax County residents back to the appropriate portal.
If Fairfax County residents do end up registering through the state system, the information does end up eventually going back to the county. But those residents will be added to the end of the waitlist, notes the county.
If residents register in both the state and county systems, the first registration will be honored and the second one will be removed.
This is in addition to those in previous groups, including health care personnel, childcare workers, and K-12 teachers or staff members living or working in the county.
According to the county’s new data dashboard, those who registered on January 18 – the first day it was open to those in Phase 1b – are now being scheduled for appointments.
More than 42,000 people signed up that day. That’s nearly four times as many people that signed up on Jan. 11, the next busiest day for registrations, the county health department says.
The county expects it will take “several weeks” for all those that registered on Jan. 18 to get a scheduled appointment.
It may appear as if progress isn’t being made when the appointment date on the dashboard isn’t changing, Lasich writes, but the health department is moving through registrations.
“We continue to ask for your patience,” the county spokesperson writes. “We promise you will get an appointment if you are on our list.”