With COVID-19 vaccines likely to start rolling out in December, the Virginia government is gearing up to prioritize and facilitate vaccine distribution. For a good overview of what things are looking like at the moment, see below for video of a presentation earlier today by Virginia’s State Epidemiologist Lilian Peake. Here are a few key points:
- As Peake explained, even as the vaccine begins to roll out – possibly as early as mid-December for the Pfizer vaccine – it’s going to take a while, and we’re going to need to keep social distancing, wearing masks, etc.
- The vaccine rollout will be in phases: 1) frontline healthcare workers, long-term-care facility residents/staff; 2) the medically vulnerable followed by “other priority populations”; 3) the general population
- Demand for the vaccine is expected to be high.
- The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored in ultra-cold conditions, so there will be 16 facilities/systems with ultra-cold freezer capabilities where the Pfizer vaccine can be pre-positioned.
- Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require two doses – Pfizer 21 days apart, Moderna 28 days apart. Also note that the Moderna vaccine only has to be frozen normally, not at ultra-cold temperatures. Basically, the vaccines are very similar, and currently there’s no preference for one over the other.
- There will be important partnerships with hospitals, long-term care facilities, medical providers and pharmacies, etc.
- Currently, the are not plans to vaccinate school kids, as the vaccines haven’t been tested on children. So, for the time being, the vaccine will be available to adults only.