Healthcare organizations urge community to get fully vaccinated
Hampton Roads healthcare leaders are calling on all eligible residents to take all precautionary measures available against COVID-19 to stop the community spread. As the community is facing increased cases brought on by the Omicron variant, Bon Secours, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Riverside Health System and Sentara Healthcare are asking those eligible who have not yet been fully vaccinated to do so today.
The COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. have been proven to be safe and effective in reducing one's risk of contracting COVID-19, as well as preventing hospitalization or severe consequences. Due to the highly contagious nature of the Omicron variant, full vaccination, including boosters for those eligible, is recommended to all community members.
Emergency Departments throughout our community are experiencing higher volumes and longer wait times than normal. If you have been exposed to COVID-19, need a test for travel purposes, are asymptomatic, or are experiencing mild symptoms such as a sore throat or loss of taste or smell, please schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or purchase a test at a local convenience store. You also can visit the Virginia Department of Health website to find convenient COVID-19 vaccination and testing locations near you.
In addition to becoming fully vaccinated, please continue to follow all precautionary safety protocols and encourage your loved ones and neighbors to take these precautions, including:
- Practicing social distancing.
- Wearing protective face masks.
- Getting tested if you feel sick or have been in contact with someone exposed to COVID-19 (Using at home testing from the Virginia Department of Health website, pharmacies or your Primary Care provider).
In accordance with the CDC, all those ages 5 and older are currently eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including receiving a first and second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or the first dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson.
In addition to the initial COVID-19 vaccination series, booster vaccines have been proven to improve immunity against COVID-19 and are currently available for those individuals who meet any of the following criteria:
- All adults 18 years and older who received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months prior. Qualifying individuals are eligible for any of the COVID-19 booster vaccines authorized in the United States.
- Teens 16-17 years old who received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months prior. Qualifying individuals are currently eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster only.
- All adults 18 years and older who received their second dose of the Moderna vaccine at least six months prior. Qualifying individuals are eligible for any of the COVID-19 booster vaccines authorized in the United States.
- All adults 18 years and older who received their first dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months prior. Qualifying individuals are eligible for any of the COVID-19 booster vaccines authorized in the United States.
For more information on boosters, please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.
If you are experiencing shortness of breath or severe weakness when walking a short distance, please visit your nearest hospital. These can be life-threatening and need to be evaluated by a provider as soon as possible.
To help protect your friends, family, and community, and stop the spread of COVID-19, get vaccinated today. For more information about how to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine and booster, please visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA.
By: Rachel Bradshaw