Virginia has announced new actions to support the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution program and accelerate the pace of vaccinations across the state.
The Commonwealth is taking the following steps to help providers increase the rate of vaccinations as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible:
- Vaccination goal. Governor Northam set an initial goal of vaccinating 25,000 Virginians each day when supply allows.
- ‘Use it or lose it’ model. Medical facilities will be required to put the vaccine they receive into arms as soon as possible, or risk having future vaccine allotments reduced.
- Dr. Danny T.K. Avula to lead vaccination efforts in Virginia. Dr. Avula, who serves as director of the Richmond City and Henrico County Health Departments will coordinate work between state officials, local health departments, hospitals, and private providers.
- Expanded priority groups. K-12 teachers and child care workers will be among the next priority groups to receive vaccinations after Group A, and outlined the populations that will be included in Groups B and C.
- Elevating the Virginia National Guard. As the Commonwealth receives more doses, the Virginia National Guard will provide logistical support and help local health departments will administering vaccines.
“Getting Virginians vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to end this pandemic, rebuild our economy, and move our Commonwealth forward,” said Governor Northam. “By setting clear goals and appointing Dr. Avula to spearhead our vaccination program, we will have a clear vision of how this effort—the largest public vaccination campaign in modern history—is progressing. I plan to get vaccinated when my turn comes, and I encourage Virginians to do the same.”
The state also announced the next priority populations to receive vaccinations, based in part on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and recommendations form the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The Virginia Department of Health is developing an online portal to help people understand how to register to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
Group B includes frontline essential workers in specific industries, K-12 teachers and staff, childcare providers, adults age 75 and older, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Additional information about Group B, which is expected to start near the end of January, is available here.
Group C includes other essential workers, adults age 65 and older, and people age 16-64 with certain medical conditions or disabilities that increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Additional information about Group C is available here.