Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will now be available to Virginia residents age 65 and over or younger residents with co-morbidities.
Northam’s announcement brings Virginia into line with new guidelines issued by the federal Department of Health and Human Services earlier this week. Previously, only residents age 75 and older — along with front-line essential workers — were eligible during Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination plan.
No details were announced regarding how the newly eligible residents would register for vaccine appointments.
Dr. Danny Avula, who is leading Virginia’s vaccination efforts, said the state is looking for large sites where mass vaccinations can be administered six or seven days a week, InsideNoVa.com reported. While the sites would initially be staffed by local health department and health-care personnel, as well as members of the state’s medical reserve corps, he said the goal eventually would be to have them staffed by members of the Virginia National Guard and a contracted force of vaccinators.
Avula said more specifics could be announced as soon as next week.
To date, Virginia has received 943,000 doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and has administered about 242,000 doses, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health. The state is currently administering an average of about 12,000 doses a day, but that’s less than half of Northam’s short-term goal of 25,000 doses a day. The long-term goal is 50,000 doses a day, InsideNoVa reported.
Both of the vaccines require recipients to receive two doses — three or four weeks apart — to be fully effective.
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