To our valued Virginia Tech employees – faculty, staff, and students,

As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be rolled out, we know that our community, like every other, has important questions. I wanted to take a moment to answer a few of the most common questions we are hearing.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is leading vaccine distribution across our state. For the Blacksburg campus and surrounding area, the New River Health District (NRHD) is managing the vaccine distribution, as are other local health districts where Virginia Tech has locations.

The NRHD is making progress on vaccinating the population. However, supplies and resources are limited, as they are in many parts of the country. While it can be frustrating to wait, we are urging patience as health authorities work to overcome challenges and get more vaccines into our area. We all want vaccines to be available as broadly and quickly as possible.

Who is currently getting the vaccine?

Vaccines for those at the highest risk of exposure, group 1a, which includes health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities, have largely been completed. In the New River Valley, the NRHD is now vaccinating the 1b group. VDH defines this group as frontline essential workers, those who are age 65 and up, and individuals 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

How is the vaccine being administered?

Virginia Tech is working with the NRHD to register our 1b frontline employees for vaccines. We are also identifying 1b employees across Virginia and coordinating with those local health districts to get employees vaccinated.

If you fall into the 65 and up age group or are an individual 16 to 64 with an underlying health condition, you should register for the vaccine. Those in the New River Valley can do that at www.nrvroadtowellness.com. After registering, you will need to wait for a call from NRHD to schedule your vaccine appointment. In other parts of Virginia, visit your local health district website or call them to find out about the registration process in your area.

When will everyone else get the vaccine?

The next group scheduled to receive a vaccine is 1c. VDH defines this group as all other essential workers, including faculty and staff in institutions of higher education.

After the 1b group is completed, all other Virginia Tech employees – which includes full-time faculty and staff – will be eligible. In addition, graduate and undergraduate students who work for the university in some capacity, will be eligible under 1c – unless specifically excluded by the VDH.

Right now, we don’t know when NRHD – or other health districts – will be ready for the 1c group. As NRHD Director Dr. Noelle Bissell said in this recent VT News article, it is expected to be a couple of months before the district can offer vaccines to the 1c group.

When it comes to our students, unless you qualify for priority groups 1b or 1c, you will be vaccinated as part of the general population. The timetable for getting vaccines to the general population is not known at this time, but information will be communicated once it is known.

We encourage everyone – employees and students alike – to stay up to date on the latest vaccine information in Virginia by visiting the VDH’s vaccine response site. Also check the Virginia Tech Ready site for university updates.

In the meantime, stay vigilant and remember:

  1. Avoid Close contact situations. Maintain distance from other people.
  2. Avoid Crowds. Being in a large crowd will increase the chance that you will be around someone infected with the virus and that the virus will spread to others.
  3. Avoid Closed, poorly ventilated spaces.
  4. Wear Masks.

Even after receiving a vaccine, we will all need to continue following these guidelines for the safety of our community until restrictions can be lifted.

Thank you for your understanding, patience, and vigilance during this unprecedented time. We had a successful fall semester and spring semester is starting smoothly. Thanks to you and your commitment to everyone who is part of Virginia Tech.

Sincerely,
Bryan Garey,
Vice President of Human Resources