Sentara Healthcare is committed to transparency about our role in vaccinating our communities against COVID-19. Our teams of healthcare heroes have been working diligently to support our communities in the most efficient way we can, and we are happy to see a large amount of interest in the COVID-19 vaccines. We are proud to have administered more than 57,000 doses of the vaccine so far.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has begun to prioritize vaccine distribution to local health departments rather than hospitals and health systems. There is no change to North Carolina’s distribution model. In both Virginia and North Carolina, Sentara is notified weekly about whether we will receive additional vaccines that week for first dose appointments and, if so, how many doses to expect. This means we will only be able to offer first dose appointments on a week-by-week basis at this time for our patients and the broader community.
Here is what the new distribution model means for Sentara:
• Moving forward, Sentara and other health systems will be very limited in our ability to schedule new first dose vaccine appointments, and we will be doing so on a week-by-week basis in all the regions we serve. We hope this will change when there is more vaccine available.
• We will evaluate currently scheduled first dose appointments week-by-week with regard to the vaccine shipments we receive from local departments of health. We will do all we can to keep our scheduled appointments.
• In the event we do need to postpone an already-scheduled first dose appointment, patients will be contacted directly with further instructions by email or by phone. Affected patients would receive priority for future appointments through Sentara and be notified to reschedule once more supply becomes available.
• Anyone who has received their first dose at a Sentara clinic will still receive their second dose as scheduled.
We understand and share your frustration with vaccine availability. We are working with state and local health departments to support ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. We also encourage all patients to sign-up through their local health department if they have not already done so. We encourage everyone, including Sentara patients, to explore every available avenue to receive a vaccine and take the first available opportunity. These opportunities could include non-Sentara clinics hosted by local health departments, neighborhood pharmacies, or other healthcare organizations. It is unlikely that Sentara will receive enough vaccines to offer appointments to all of our patients at this time.
• Virginia local health districts found here.
• North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) locations found here.
• CVS Pharmacy COVID-19 Vaccine Information found here (VA residents).
• Walgreens Pharmacy COVID-19 Vaccine Information found here (NC residents).
If Sentara is able to host future community vaccine clinics, local health departments will share their lists of eligible pre-registered individuals with us.
Any Sentara patient who receives a vaccine at a non-Sentara clinic is encouraged to inform their primary care team by sending a message through their Sentara MyChart account. This is an important step in ensuring care teams have a complete and accurate record of a patient’s health and immunization history.
We understand this recent development may cause additional frustration or confusion. To help clarify information and ensure that anyone interested in receiving a vaccine has the opportunity to access one as soon as possible, we’ve provided answers to frequently asked questions at www.sentara.com/vaccine.
We appreciate the community’s continued patience and support during this time. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.