Regional healthcare leaders launch ‘Operation Vaccinate the Peninsula’

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City of Williamsburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority Director Tyrone Franklin received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, administered by Secretary of Health, Dr. Daniel Carey. (WYDaily/Photo by Gabrielle Rente)

HAMPTON ROADS PENINSULA — Local healthcare organizations and governments are banding together in an effort called, ‘Operation Vaccinate the Peninsula.’

According to a March 16 press release from the Peninsula and Hampton Health Districts, James City County, City of Williamsburg, York County, City of Poquoson, Newport News, and Hampton are working together under a “unified command structure to facilitate cohesive COVID-19 vaccination planning, execution, resource allocation and communication.”

Medical system partners included in this collaboration are Bon Secours Health System, Riverside Health System, and Sentara Healthcare.

“Vaccination rollout has been confusing at times, both locally and nationally, with different messages across many channels. Through community conversations, leaders on Peninsula heard the call for better communication about and alignment across public and private healthcare partners around COVID-19 vaccination,” according to the release.

The initiative will result in more expedient vaccine distribution, support for underserved communities in our region, and clearer messaging regarding eligibility and availability.

Peninsula leaders presented Operation Vaccinate the Peninsula to Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Dr. Daniel Carey, during his recent visit to the Greater Williamsburg Clinic.

RELATED STORY: Virginia Secretary of Health visits Greater Williamsburg Vaccination Clinic

“We were glad to have the opportunity to present the plan to Secretary Carey last week as a preparatory step for increased vaccination availability,” stated Williamsburg City Manager Andrew Trivette. “We believe this collaborative model will improve vaccine distribution, communication, and clinic operations along the Peninsula and could be deployed statewide.”

The Peninsula and Hampton Health Districts have also created five “impact” groups within the partnership to combine the strengths of each group. Each will include leaders from the health districts, municipalities, and healthcare systems to ensure success.

The groups include:

Vaccine supply, allocation, and distribution. This group will collect and share data with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) regarding vaccine ordering, anticipated supply, deliveries, and the distribution of vaccines. Other responsibilities will include maintaining a database of vaccine supply for each organization and communicating with managers or coordinators of the clinics to ensure that supply is adequate.

Communications. This group develops and shares information with the Peninsula community through various websites, social media, and other forms of traditional media.

Vaccine clinic development and strategy. This group is responsible for assessing community opportunities for vaccine clinics, examining the vaccine types that are available, and the storage requirements for the vaccine when designing clinics. This group considers accessibility for underserved communities to ensure a “fair and equitable distribution of vaccines across the eligible populations.” It also collaborates with the communications group in order to ensure that the communities on the Peninsula are aware of all vaccination options available.

Clinic operations, scheduling, and staffing. Once clinics are established, this group works with municipalities to support operations such as scheduling and staffing.

Data results and tracking. This final group will assess the success rates of the vaccination clinics by examining the populations that are vaccinated relative to the clinic locations. This will aid in examining how to continue to improve processes.

“As vaccination on the Peninsula continues our top priority is to ensure the community is informed about the current supply and can more easily access the vaccine as they become eligible,” according to the news release. “Our goal is to ensure every community member on the Peninsula has easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine and is able to make the best decision for their good health.”

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