The Fairfax County Health Department will stop accepting registrations for the COVID-19 vaccine once eligibility opens up to the general adult population on Sunday (April 18).
According to a blog post published earlier this evening, county residents will instead be directed to Vaccine Finder to find approved providers, including the county health department, pharmacies, hospitals, and private practices. They will then need to schedule appointments directly with the provider.
The county says that its current registration system enabled it to prioritize residents based on the Virginia Department of Health’s established eligibility categories, but this will no longer be necessary when appointments are open to the general population in Phase 2 and the local health department no longer provides the primary commmunity vaccination sites.
“In Phase 2, the larger pool of community vaccination sites allows us to shift to this new process, which will allow greater flexibility and choice of where residents receive their vaccine,” the FCHD says.
Created by Boston Children’s Hospital with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Digital Service, Vaccine Finder allows users to locate clinics, pharmacies, and other sites that are providing COVID-19 vaccinations, but it does not provide appointment scheduling, which must be done through the individual provider.
Fairfax County Health Department spokesperson Jeremy Lasich tells Reston Now that the county will still be responsible for distributing vaccine supplies to its partners, and it will schedule appointments for individuals remaining on its waitlist, which has about 23,000 people left as of 8:30 p.m.
However, the county’s registration system will be retired once everyone on the waitlist has been given an appointment.
“We will continue to manage registrations for those people who are currently on our waitlist for the next week or two after April 18 until they have all received appointments and our waitlist reaches 0,” Lasich said. “We will also still manage vaccination clinics for people who sign up at one of our locations on VaccineFinder, but…we will not manage those registrations.”
Because of the need to finish vaccinating everyone on the waitlist, the health department notes that its clinics and some of its partners may not be listed on Vaccine Finder until late April or early May.
“Everyone who is on our waitlist before it closes at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, will be contacted to schedule appointments within approximately one week,” the department said.
Photo via Fairfax County Health Department