The newest approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is being delivered to health districts and health care facilities across the Commonwealth of Virginia this week. Both the previously approved Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccines are being distributed to 96 sites this week at geographically diverse locations.
In anticipation of the Moderna vaccine’s approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Virginia had placed an order for about 140,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week, and it is expected to all be delivered by tomorrow, December 23. Additionally, Virginia was allocated about 50,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine this week.
Based on planning estimates provided by Operation Warp Speed, Virginia is planning for a weekly allocation of a total of 100,000 doses of vaccine (about 50,000 doses of each type of vaccine) for the next few weeks. The actual amount of vaccine received in Virginia is a moving target and is dependent on when and how quickly vaccination doses are manufactured.
Health districts have been working with healthcare systems to plan for how to provide the vaccine to those in allocation group 1a, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and VDH.
In addition to healthcare personnel, Phase 1a includes long-term care facility (LTCF) residents and staff. Most LTCFs in Virginia signed up for the federal LTCF Pharmacy Partnership Program and will be receiving their vaccinations onsite, at their LTCF, from CVS and Walgreens vaccination teams. The pharmacies are expected to begin vaccinating at LTCFs beginning the week of December 28.
“Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic. With Pfizer-BioNTech and now Moderna vaccines available, more Virginians are able to get vaccinated,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “The interest we are seeing from community members on when they can get vaccinated indicates people want this protection. We are working hard to get vaccines to people as quickly as possible. In the meantime, please continue to wear a face mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.”
Currently, vaccine distribution is limited to those in priority group 1a but will be expanded as supplies and resources to administer the vaccine increase. Vaccines will be made available to the various populations identified in the phased distribution plans established by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and VDH.
Although some are being vaccinated, all are encouraged to continue to take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Continue to wear cloth face-coverings or masks, stay at least six feet away from others, wash your hands well and often, and avoid gatherings with anyone who is not a member of your household.