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Fairfax County opens COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to public transit workers and mail carriers

Public transit workers and mail carriers can now register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment after the Fairfax County Health Department announced another expansion of eligibility, effective today (Tuesday).

Eligible workers include bus drivers, rideshare drivers, and people who work in school and employee bus transportation and special needs transportation. Mail carriers for the U.S. Postal Service and private companies, such as Amazon, FedEx, and UPS, are also now eligible to get vaccinated.

“Employees should be prepared to show some form of work-related identification or paystub as the vaccine appointment could be offered by one of our vaccine partners that may require ID,” the county health department said.

In the past, Fairfax County has organized clinics for specific workers, including working with Inova Health Systems to vaccinate public school employees, but a health department spokesperson says the county is “not planning occupational clinics at this time.”

Newly eligible individuals can join the waitlist for an appointment by registering through the health department website or contacting the department’s call center at 703-324-7404.

After seeing no change for nearly two months, Fairfax County has now opened up appointments to additional essential workers twice in the past week. Grocery store employees and workers in the food, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors became eligible last Wednesday (March 17).

With this latest expansion, eight out of the Virginia Department of Health’s 11 priority groups in phase 1b can sign up to get vaccinated in Fairfax County. The three remaining groups are government officials, religious leaders, and janitorial and cleaning staff.

As it did last week, the county health department says that increases in supply have enabled it to move through its existing waitlist at a faster pace, keeping the Fairfax Health District on track to enter phase 1c by mid-April and to expand vaccine availability to the general population in phase 2 by May 1.

According to the health department’s vaccine dashboard, Fairfax County received 43,454 doses during the week of March 15-21, which is over 10,000 more doses than it got the previous week and more than double its supply from just three weeks ago.

As of 10 a.m. today, the health department had 89,673 people on its waitlist, about 25% of the 361,619 people who have registered for an appointment with Fairfax County. The county is currently scheduling appointments for people who registered on March 2.

So far, the county health department and its partners have adminstered 322,961 vaccine doses. VDH data shows that 250,585 people in Fairfax County have gotten at least one dose, and 133,978 people have been fully vaccinated — roughly 15% of the county’s adult population.

Even with supplies increasing, jurisdictions in Northern Virginia say they have the capacity to deliver more doses. With additional supplies from the state, Fairfax County could administer 34,000 doses per week, on top of an additional 84,000 doses per week from a mass vaccination facility that Inova is preparing to open in Alexandria by the end of March, according to a letter that the Northern Virginia Regional Commission sent to Gov. Ralph Northam.

“We’re grateful for the increase these last few wks, but we still have over 300K in the region on the waitlist,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a tweet. “We have the capacity to vaccinate equitably/efficiently and are working to get doses to meet demand.”

Photo via Fairfax County Health Department/Twitter

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