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Gov. Northam announces $22 million will go towards COVID-19 vaccination program in Virginia

Governor Ralph Northam announced $22 million from the CARES Act funding will be used to create...
Governor Ralph Northam announced $22 million from the CARES Act funding will be used to create a statewide program to distribute COVID-19 vaccines when such vaccines are approved for public use.(NBC12)
Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 10:36 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam announced $22 million from the CARES Act funding will be used to create a statewide program to distribute COVID-19 vaccines when such vaccines are approved for public use.

The $22 million allocations of CARES Act dollars will support the Virginia Department of Health’s vaccination preparation and planning through the end of 2020. The Commonwealth will identify additional sources of funding to continue to support the vaccination program in 2021.

The state’s draft vaccination plan was submitted to the CDC earlier this month.

Virginia is preparing for an unprecedented vaccination campaign. Here’s the state’s plan. ]

Several companies are working to create COVID-19 vaccines, which are expected to be finalized and approved for distribution in the coming months.

A mass vaccination program such as this requires significant advance planning for:

  • Purchases of equipment
  • Support for local health districts
  • Staff to manage the program
  • Warehousing medical supplies
  • Communicating with the public

“We look forward to the day that a safe vaccine for COVID-19 is available for public use so that we can get closer to living normal lives,” Governor Northam said. “We want to be ready to help Virginians get that vaccine as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible.”

The plan outlines key components for preparing and implementing a COVID-19 vaccination program including:

  • Assumptions, variables, and scenarios that can impact vaccine planning
  • Measures to identify and estimate critical populations and establish vaccine priority groups
  • Measures for provider recruitment, enrollment, and training
  • Process for vaccine allocation, ordering, distribution, inventory management, and reporting doses administered
  • Guidelines for appropriate vaccine storage and handling
  • Methods for second dose reminders to ensure compliance with vaccine dosing intervals (most COVID-19 vaccines require two doses separated by 21 or 28 days) and achieve optimal vaccine effectiveness
  • Systems for vaccine safety monitoring
  • Procedures for vaccination program monitoring, including online dashboards
  • Efforts to build confidence and inform the public about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, working with trusted community partners

The Virginia Department of Health estimates the vaccination program will cost approximately $120 million.

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