Thu, 01/28/2021 - 11:30
Information provided by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. This information is subject to change as Virginia continues to refine the vaccination effort. Visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine for more information.
- All states rely on the federal government to distribute vaccine doses. Based on our population, Virginia is currently receiving approximately 105,000 new doses per week toward our goal of achieving herd immunity. The pace of incoming doses may not significantly increase for months, although President Biden has announced plans to increase distribution by 16% in the near future.
- The Virginia Vaccine Summary Dashboard has been updated to provide greater transparency and clarity, and now shows that the majority of first doses available to the Commonwealth have been administered. This results from identifying doses that can be redistributed and administered quickly; reducing the backlog of data entry from vaccine providers; and clarifying the status of doses sent to CVS and Walgreens as part of the federal program to vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities. It is important to note that the number of doses shown as being “received” by hospitals and local health districts does not account for the doses they then redistributed to other partners such as physicians and pharmacies. About half of the doses that have been received but not administered are second doses that will be administered three or four weeks after the corresponding first doses.
- Virginia’s primary distribution of doses is allocated by the Virginia Department of Health to local health districts, in proportion to each district’s population. Local health districts are expected to determine the most equitable and efficient use of each allocation, leveraging any combination of their own staff and volunteers, hospitals, pharmacies, and individual providers. Additional doses reach some residents of Virginia through separate federal allocations for employees of the U.S. Department of Defense and certain other agencies; the Indian Health Service; and a federal contract with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities.
- All local health districts in Virginia have moved into Phase 1b of vaccine eligibility. This means that approximately 50% of Virginia’s population is now eligible, including frontline essential workers, people aged 65 years and older, people with high-risk medical conditions identified by the CDC, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Other than the healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities in Phase 1a, the Virginians in Phase 1b are at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 or serious illness if infected.
- While local health districts are allowed flexibility in how doses are administered to eligible individuals, roughly half of the available supply should be used for people aged 65 or older. The other half should be used for frontline essential workers; people with high-risk medical conditions as identified by the CDC; and people in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Frontline essential workers should be prioritized in the order listed in the Phase 1b details.
- There are simply not enough doses available yet for everyone who is eligible to receive them. Virginia is not likely to meet the demand for Phase 1b until March or April.
- Anyone eligible for Phase 1a or 1b based on occupation should check with their employer to see if arrangements have already been made, and should otherwise register with the local health department in the locality where they work. Anyone eligible based on age or medical condition should register with the local health department in the locality where they live. Virginia has confirmed that the District of Columbia and Maryland are following the same approach.
- Assistance in English, Spanish, and other languages is also available through the VDH Call Center at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343). The Commonwealth is investing in a significant expansion of call center capacity in the coming weeks, and is working with local health districts to ensure information and registration is available on their websites and by phone.
- Unfortunately, it may be weeks or longer before vaccination appointments become available for those who have registered.
- Anyone who receives a first dose of vaccine will receive the second dose three or four weeks later as appropriate. Vaccine providers should not hold back their current supply for second doses; they will receive second doses in proportion to the first doses they administer.
Protect Yourself and Others
It is more important than ever to take the same precautions as always:
- staying home when possible, and especially when sick
- wearing masks when out
- maintaining physical distance from others
- washing hands frequently
- other best practices