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COVID-19 Vaccine Update from the Virginia Municipal League

COVID-19 Vaccine Update from the Virginia Municipal League



COVID-19 Vaccine Update from the Virginia Municipal League

Key Points:

  • 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 vaccinating all 8.5 million Virginians plus out-of-state residents who serve as essential workers in Virginia. The pace of incoming doses is not expected to increase until March.
  • 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.
  • Starting January 25, all Local Health Districts in Virginia will 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.
  • 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 is reaching out to neighboring states and the District of Columbia to ensure consistency in this approach. Assistance in English, Spanish, and other languages is also available through the VDH Call Center at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343).
  • 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.