“Move quickly. Please empty those freezers; clear those shelves; deploy those doses; show us shots in Virginians’ arms,” Gov. Ralph Northam said during a press briefing on Jan. 8.
Vaccine doses started rolling into Virginia toward the end of 2020—vaccines arrived at Virginia Hospital Center and were given to some health care workers there during the second week of December, for example.
As of press time, the Biden administration was ramping up a federal plan for vaccination. Here’s what we know about availability of the shot in Virginia.
- Back in early 2021, Northam said Virginia is receiving 110,000 doses a week and recently said he’s hoping to up that number to 25,000 per day. As of press time, 130,735 Virginians had been fully vaccinated.
- Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be made available (you won’t have a choice between the two), first to health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illnesses due to underlying medical conditions and people 65 and older. Vaccines will be provided for free to all Americans.
- Additional doses are expected in early 2021 and will be provided to more Virginians, but the timeline is not yet known. Availability will increase in the coming months. The Virginia Department of Health is signing up Virginia health care providers who want to provide the COVID-19 vaccine. There will be several vaccine manufacturers with different storage requirements and vaccine dosing schedules.
- Virginians who do not fall into priority categories will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when it is more widely available. Children and pregnant adults will be offered vaccines only after the vaccine is tested and approved for those groups. Once the CDC makes recommendations about the next group of people who should receive vaccinations, VDH will ensure the vaccines are distributed to those people regardless of where they live in Virginia.
- Long-term care facility residents will be given vaccines on-site at their facilities by CVS and Walgreens teams, who are partnering with the CDC to bring vaccines directly to the facilities so that residents do not have to travel.
- Health care workers will receive the vaccine at their places of employment. Health care workers who cannot receive the vaccine at their place of employment should contact their local health department.
- For more information on when you’re eligible for the vaccine, visit vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine. Your doctor is also a good resource to help you determine your eligibility.
COVID cases in Northern Virginia
While economic recovery and reopening has been a focus when it comes to getting to the other side of the pandemic, the human toll remains enormous. As of Feb. 1, deaths nationwide were nearly 440,000, with many more deaths expected into the spring. In Virginia, the state’s most COVID cases are reportedly in Northern Virginia, according to the Fairfax Business Emergency Operations Council. As of Feb. 1, there were 145,648 known COVID cases in Northern Virginia and 1,681 deaths. Densely populated Fairfax County tops the region with 59,481 known cases and 784 deaths.