I write to you this morning to update you that Arlington residents 65 to 74 will be eligible for appointments over the coming weeks, tell you about the state system we joined this morning at 8 am, share my thoughts about equity with respect to vaccine distribution, and share with you that we will hold a work session today at 3 pm on vaccine distribution.
Updated picture of Vaccine Registration, Pre-Registration and Not Yet
The big picture: over 10% of Arlington residents have now received one dose. And over 7,000 people fully have been fully vaccinated out of our population of 230,000. We are making progress, but we have much more to do.
Arlington Residents Over 65
First, the above picture shows that those 65 and above can now register. A few numbers:
* There are about 10,000 Arlington residents who have pre-registered in our system.
* There are thousands of additional Arlington residents who are between 65 and 74 who have not yet registered. (Arlington population over 65 in total is more 21,000. Some are over 75 and have been served.)
* We received 2,750 vaccines per week, for a total of 5,500 over the last two weeks. Half of those doses go to the 65 and above group. The other half go to those in the essential workers list in 1b, which I will cover later.
* Every few days, we will email another group of 2,000 or so from the list to schedule vaccination appointments.
* This adds up to weeks and perhaps up to a month or more to get through everyone 65 to 74.
Picture of the Seqouia Vaccination Site
What is the Change in Registration to this State System?
Arlington and the rest of the state except Fairfax County are switching to a new system for registration that is statewide. That system should be live tomorrow morning at 8 am. Our Public Health Director and our web team have been working with the Virginia Department of Health on it. We need better data and I hope this will help us get there. I also want to note that Arlington is re-opening the Walter Reed Community Center as a vaccination site.
Arlington Residents with Underlying Medical Conditions
The next group of people to be considered for the 1/2 doses that the 65 and above will receive are those 16 to 64 with an underlying health condition. This group through pre-registration is more than 15,000. The math on this group is difficult as well. It could take another month or two to finish this second group if our doses do not increase to beyond 2,750 a week. I worry and think about this group of Arlington residents every day.
What about the other half of vaccinations?
The non-65 plus or non-underlying conditions doses?
Good question. We are working through the priority groups of essential workers in 1b. We are partnering with Arlington Public Schools to help APS staff receive second doses: the vast majority are done. I understand those concerned about who is most at risk, but humbly submit that our schools opening in hybrid form is a worthy priority that the Governor has identified and, respectfully, I support it.
The order of the remaining groups is below. Some groups may be small in number. Others groups may be larger. The order of these is clear under Virginia Department of Health Guidance:
1. Food and Agriculture (including veterinarians)
3. Grocery store workers
4. Public transit workers
5. Mail carriers (USPS and private)
6. Officials needed to maintain continuity of government (including judges and public facing judicial workers)
You may ask who qualifies under continuity of government. County employees with forward facing roles. But that 6th category is at least weeks from now and probably more than a month. So let's focus first on getting through these groups.
This is the map that comes up when you click on this link and scroll down. You can learn how Arlington is doing here: [link removed]
What about Equity in Vaccine Distribution?
To me equity both means racial justice and equity also means fairness with respect to serving those most in need.
First, without more doses, there cannot be more equity, so I am working on advocating to the Governor for more doses.
With the doses we have, equity with respect to those most in need leads me to consider who is most at risk of serious injury and death. In Arlington 75% of the 209 deaths have been those over 65.
Black Arlingtonians have been 20% of our fatalities and are 10% of our residents, so we have to work to make vaccines more available to our Black residents.
Our Latino residents have also been disproportionately impacted. Over 40% of our cases are Latino when our population is 15% Latino, so we have been prioritizing testing at Arlington Milll and we are vaccinating at Walter Reed starting today, which is accessible for our neighborhoods with the largest percentages of Latino and Black residents.
So, we will be working on a direct outreach effort to those not able to be on email easily and residents living in zip code 22204 where we have had the highest number of cases by far. Stay tuned over the coming days to learn more.
All of this does not mean that I don't care about the other Arlington residents, more than 100K of them who also desperately need vaccines. I am waiting with you. I will not jump the line to get a vaccine as your health is personally important to me.
Click to Join Us Tomorrow at 3 pm for a Vaccine Work Sesssion ([link removed])
One last bit of math: 5.5%. That is our positivity rate for COVID, down from over 10% last month.
What does all of this mean? How long?
Not long, but we have a ways to go yet. We will get you vaccinated but it will take time. My best guess is 2-3 months to get through 65 to 74 and underlying medical conditions. Another 2 months after that to get to everyone. I think by July 1 or August 1 most everyone will have been vaccinated. I could be wrong, but that is my best guess.
So, the light at the end of the tunnel is in view, but let's do the work we need to get to the light.
And, again, let's work to make sure that all of our family and friends make it to that light: stay home if you can, mask (two please), social distance, wash your hands.
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