Alexandria Mayor Asks Governor to Open Vaccine Eligibility for Restaurant, Personal Care and Retail Workers

Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson wants Governor Ralph Northam to include retail, personal care and restaurant workers in phase 1B of coronavirus vaccine distribution.

“Not only are these workers vital to the economic health and vitality of our communities, but the are, more often than not, those in our community who are bearing the burden of COVID-19 more acutely than others,” Wilson wrote in a letter to Northam.

Last month, Alexandria entered into 1B, which allows anyone 65 and older to get prioritized for the vaccine. Also included are essential workers, such as police, fire and EMS officials, Alexandria City Public Schools staff and people ages 16 and older with underlying medical conditions.

Wilson said women make up a majority of retail jobs and minority populations are at higher risk because of health disparities in the community.

“Those who serve in these jobs do not have the luxury of working from home and must interact with the public, often at distances less than six feet, in order to perform their work,” Wilson wrote. “Currently, retail, personal care and restaurant workers are in line for vaccines behind many workers in our community who are not required to interact with the public on a daily basis in order to do their jobs.”

It may take until late summer before the vaccine is widely available in Alexandria, Wilson said

More than 45,000 city residents are on the waiting list to get the vaccine, and about 2,000 doses are being distributed weekly.

“COVID-19 vaccine supply currently remains extremely limited,” the city reported Thursday. “While local demand for COVID-19 vaccination exceeds the supply, Alexandria Health Department (AHD) must prioritize certain groups for vaccination.”

Residents can pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine in Alexandria here.

Photo by Eli Wilson

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