Connecting Elderly with COVID-19 Vaccine Can Be Challenging

Possibly the most common question asked of Board of Supervisors members and Stafford County staff is “How do I get the COVID-19 shot for my elderly relative?” The answer is both easy and difficult. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) asks for those 65 and older or those with compromised immunities to register by calling the Virginia Vaccine Hotline at 1-877-ASKVDH-3 (1-877-275-8343). 

That is the easy part. The hard part is being patient as demand far exceeds the supply being allotted by the federal government to the Commonwealth of Virginia, resulting in limited vaccines available locally. And while residents may sign up via telephone, sign-ups also occur online. It is a lot of information to take in, and Stafford asks family members, neighbors and friends to assist their neighbors and relatives with the sign-up for the vaccine.

Stafford officials coordinate closely with the Rappahannock Area Health Department (RAHD), the Virginia Department of Health’s local health authority. Since the vaccines started a month ago, the instructions for obtaining the vaccine have changed several times as officials refine the process. Currently, RAHD is asking those eligible to call the state hotline with questions and sign up. As well, you can sign up via RAHD’s website The RAHD website also has a lot of helpful information on

Common Questions Received by Stafford

  • If I registered already, do I have to register again? No. You are on the list and will be contacted when a vaccine is available for you. It is important to understand that it might be several weeks before RAHD contacts you but you will be contacted.
  • Do I have to have an email to get the shot? No, you can call the state hotline at 1-877-275-8343.
  • Do I have to register to receive the shot? Yes, you do.
  • Will I lose my place in line if I miss the email or the phone call from VDH? No, you will keep your place in line. Please call RAHD if you missed a call or did not respond to the email to confirm at 540-899-4797.
  • Is the vaccine safe? It has been approved for emergency use, and you can find out more by visiting   


Because of the uncertainty regarding the supply of vaccines, there has been a lot of misinformation. Please take your information from the Virginia Department of Health and the Rappahannock Area Health District. Again, Stafford asks anyone who can to assist elderly relatives or acquaintances with signing up for the vaccine.