WTHD moving to Phase 1B

Published 5:31 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2021

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The Western Tidewater Health District announced Jan. 20 that it would move into Phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccination campaign this week.

Based on the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, Phase 1B includes frontline essential workers, those 65 years of age and older, and individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 with a high risk medical condition. A full breakdown of Phase 1B can be found here: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/

“We are excited to move through the phases of our vaccination plan at a feverish pace,” said Dr. Lauren James, interim director of the Western Tidewater Health District. James continued, “Our staff has done an exceptional job planning for this vaccine rollout and strives to continue to provide exceptional service to the localities we serve just as we have done through the entire pandemic.”

Organizations that fall into the categories outlined in Phase 1B are asked to email Will Drewery, district emergency manager at will.drewery@vdh.virginia.gov, to gain access to the online scheduling portal.

Citizens 65 and older who are unable to obtain vaccine through their healthcare provider or a pharmacy are asked to call one of the following numbers to make an appointment.

Franklin: 757-562-6109

Southampton: 757-653-3040

Isle of Wight: 757-279-3070

Suffolk: 757-514-4781

District Emergency Manager Will Drewery stated last Wednesday that the number listed will be manned during business hours, even though citizens have reported trouble reaching the health department in recent weeks. Drewery said that was because of the building being closed.

“We have gotten the city to make some concessions to us,” he said.

Drewery also urged people to be patient. “The number of appointments we’re going to make is going to depend largely on the number of vaccines we’re able to get,” Drewery said.

He added that the district had not yet had any trouble getting the number of doses requested.

“We don’t sit on doses,” he said. “Everything that we receive goes out within the same week.”

Drewery said anyone who is an essential worker in 1B AND has a preexisting health condition is urged to access the vaccine through their employer to reserve clinic space for others who cannot access it through their employer.

The workforce categories in 1B include the following:

Police, fire and hazmat

Corrections and homeless shelter workers

Childcare/PreK-12 teachers and staff, public and private

Food and agriculture, including veterinarians


Grocery store workers

Public transit workers

Mail carriers, U.S. Postal Service and private

Officials needed to maintain continuity of government

The list of medical conditions that qualify people ages 16-64 for Phase 1B includes:


Chronic kidney disease


Down syndrome

Heart conditions

Solid organ transplant recipient

Overweight or obese


Sickle cell disease


Type 1 or 2 diabetes


Cerebrovascular disease

Cycstic fibrosis

High blood pressure

Immunocompromised state from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or other immune weakening medicines

Neurologic conditions such as dementia

Liver disease

Pulmonary fibrosis


Vaccine is expected to be in very high demand, and the district asks for the public’s patience as they navigate through the various phases of vaccine deployment.