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Jan 25

City Manager's Message Jan. 25: COVID-19 Vaccines

Posted on January 25, 2021 at 4:03 PM by Don Mann

I am writing to give you all an update on our COVID vaccine planning and implementation efforts. As I previously noted, we have been working very hard to secure sufficient vaccines to immunize our city and school workforce in accordance with the CDC/VDH guidelines. I am very pleased to announce that - through a partnership with Sentara Health System and our local health district - Hampton was selected to begin an employer-based vaccination clinic. We began this clinic last Friday with a small, trial run of vaccinating 200 city and school employees (100 each). The clinic went very smoothly, so this week we will be expanding our efforts and ramping up to do even more vaccinations. 

I could not be more proud of the many people who helped to make the clinic so successful! In particular, I want to acknowledge our Hampton EMS providers and school nurses who are serving as the vaccinators. Each of these individuals had to meet stringent criteria, go through rigorous training and complete a skills assessment before administering the first dose. The EMS providers are additionally choosing to help by working on their normal scheduled days off, choosing to help their fellow employees rather than enjoy all their time off. When I thanked our team Friday, one EMS provider summed up what I heard from so many. She said, “We just want to do our part to fight this horrible disease so people can resume their lives and not live in fear.” It was so heartwarming to see this commitment reflected in all our vaccinators, and to see our city and school team working so effectively together. Our behind the scenes support team also deserves a big shout out. From our emergency management team that has worked tirelessly at all hours of the night to the many Social Services/Parks & Recreation team members who are supporting the registration, paperwork and other administrative requirements, we have a phenomenal team assembled to get our employees vaccinated in accordance with VDH guidelines.

VDH currently has our area in a hybrid 1A/1B mode which means that we are authorized to vaccinate city and school employees who are in these categories. The following site will provide you with more details on the eligible 1A/1B population: 

https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/

Many of you will be in these categories, while others will come later in 1C or even possibly phase 2. Please be patient and know that we want to ensure that all of you who choose to be vaccinated get your vaccine as soon as we are authorized to do so. I will continue to keep you posted as to where we are in the process with periodic updates, so you can assess when you might get vaccinated. In the meantime, if you do get offered a vaccine from another source (most likely your private physician, the military for retirees and/or dependents and/or the VA), please take the opportunity to do so. You do not need to wait for your opportunity with us. If you do choose to vaccinate elsewhere, though, please let us know so we do not plan for you in our count.

To help facilitate an accurate count of how many vaccines to allocate, I have asked your department heads to survey their employees to ascertain how many do intend to get one when offered. You are not required to receive the vaccine, however, if you decline the vaccine when offered, you will be required to sign a Vaccine Declination Form.  If you decline the vaccine when offered, you forfeit your eligibility for the City Covid-19 Sick Leave benefit outlined in PAI 7.5.  You can withdraw your declination at any time and then become eligible for the City Covid-19 Sick Leave benefit. If you are unable to receive the vaccine due to medical reasons, you must provide documentation from a licensed health care provider to remain eligible for the City Covid-19 Sick Leave.

If you have any questions about our effort, please do not hesitate to let me know. Again, I want to thank the many people who worked so hard to set up and implement our clinic. I often say we have the best team around - and that is proven over and over again as we confront new challenges. I would put up our city/school vaccine team with any around the country - that is how good they are! I hope you will be able to visit with them in the near future. Until then, please know we are doing all we can in accordance with the guidelines we have been given. 

Have a great week!

— Mary

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