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NEW: Alexandria shifts to open scheduling for COVID-19 vaccine

Alexandria turned another corner in the fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday, as the city has moved into vaccination open scheduling.

“This is a big moment, as the days of long waiting lists for vaccinations are largely behind us,” Mayor Justin Wilson told ALXnow. “The next phase is a new challenge as we must work to bring doses to those who have not sought them and continue to spread the word that we have three very safe and effective vaccines that are available to Alexandria residents. This is how we get our residents and businesses back to normal.”

More than 108,000 residents have gotten shots — 42,094 fully vaccinated and 65,960 single doses administered, according to the Virginia Department of Health. It’s a far cry from the 25,000+ vaccine waitlist earlier this year, and means that residents can now choose vaccination appointment dates and locations to get inoculated without pre-registering.

“This milestone highlights the hard work by AHD and City staff, the dedication of Medical Reserve Corps and community volunteers, and the contribution of each Alexandrian who has received the vaccine to help end the pandemic,” AHD said in a release. “With the increase in COVID-19 variants and ongoing significant community transmission in Alexandria, streamlined vaccine appointment open scheduling will increase access to vaccination for all residents and essential workers.”

According to the Alexandria Health Department, residents and frontline essential workers who pre-registered for a vaccine with the city or the Virginia Department of Health, have been contacted for an appointment. The city also recently began re-administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was temporarily halted after reports of side effects.

The city has set a summer target of fully inoculating 80% of residents (106,000 people).

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, free and they can save your life,” AHD said. “When enough people get vaccinated, Alexandrians can get back to normal.”

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