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Virginians age 16+ eligible for vaccine starting April 18

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday, April 1 that all Virginians age 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting Sunday, April 18. 

The announcement came during Northam’s visit to a vaccination clinic at First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Prince William County. 

A release from the Office of the Governor said the  April 18 eligibility marker comes weeks ahead of the May 1 nationwide goal set by President Joe Biden. 

Officials said Thursday that nearly every Virginian in the highest risk group who has pre-registered for a vaccination appointment has received one, and those still on the pre-registration list are anticipated to receive appointment invitations within the next two weeks.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel — and that light is getting brighter every day as more and more Virginians get vaccinated,” Northam said Thursday. “We continue to work with diverse providers and community partners across the commonwealth to distribute vaccines in a fair and equitable way and ensure those at the highest risk are vaccinated first. Expanding vaccine eligibility to all adults marks an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to put this pandemic behind us, and I thank all of the public health staff, health care workers, vaccinators and volunteers who have helped make this possible.”

According to the release, more than 3.7 million doses of vaccine have been administered thus far in Virginia, more than one in three adults have received at least one dose and one in five Virginians are fully vaccinated.

The release added 21 of Virginia’s 35 local health districts have already started vaccinating essential workers in Phase 1c after providing appointments to everyone eligible in Phases 1a or 1b on the pre-registration list. Beginning April 4, districts that have invited everyone pre-registered in Phase 1c may invite members of the general public who have pre-registered. 

And, based on the supply projected by the federal government, all local health districts are predicted to have enough vaccine doses to open appointments to the general public by April 18. Those at highest risk will continue to receive priority in the scheduling process, officials noted.