Gov. Northam updates COVID-19 vaccination plans in Virginia
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - Coronavirus vaccinations could be available to tens of thousands of Virginians in the next couple of weeks.
During Tuesday’s COVID-19 press briefing, Governor Ralph Northam called the news “extremely hopeful”, but he says the light at the end of the tunnel for most of us is still months away.
Healthcare workers and people who live in long term care facilities will make up phase one of vaccinations in Virginia. But, that will be 70,000 vaccinations for 500,000 people that fit into those categories.
“We expect to have enough to get to everybody, but it will take time so we all need to be patient,” Northam said.
Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna both require two doses, about three weeks apart.
Those with medical conditions and over the age of sixty five would likely be a part of phase two.
That means it will be months before most Virginians have access to a vaccine, which Northam, as a doctor, says he’s confident will be safe.
“When our turn comes, my family and I will have no hesitancy about getting vaccinated and I strongly encourage every Virginian to get the vaccine,” Northam said. “That is our only path to getting back to that near normal.”
“If you do your math, you’re up into the millions,” Virginia Secretary of Health Daniel Carey said. “I mean 8 1/2 million Virginians if you go through those high risk groups before you get to the general population. It’s millions of folks so it will be a ways before it gets to the general public.”
Northam hopes to have the vaccination available to all Virginians by late spring, early summer. It will be available in all regions of the commonwealth.
“We are working on our distribution plan to make sure the vaccine gets to all parts of Virginia and we’re looking at doing that equitably,” Virginia State Epidemiologist Dr. Lillian Peake said.
The governor says that while Virginia’s percent positivity rate is still lower than 45 other states, our numbers are trending upward and that does not yet include any post Thanksgiving surge.
Northam also announced today that Virginia is sending an additional $15 million in CARES act funding to group home settings for people with disabilities to help them with COVID expenses.
He continues to urge Virginians to wear masks and to practice social distancing in the meantime.
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