VDH submits phased COVID-19 Vaccination Plan to CDC

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 10:49 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Governor Ralph Northam said several COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be approved and distributed in the coming months.

Northam announced Friday that $22 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding will be used to create a statewide program to distribute COVID-19 vaccines when such vaccines are approved for public use.

That funding will be used for purchases of equipment, support for local health districts, staff to manage the program, warehousing medical supplies, and communicating with the public.

Christy Gray, the Director of the Division of Immunization for the Virginia Department of Health said VDH submitted its draft vaccination plan to the CDC earlier this month.

“VDH is committed to ensuring that safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are accessible, affordable, and equitably distributed throughout the entire commonwealth,” Gray said.

With several vaccines likely to be approved, Gray said different vaccines could be prioritized to certain demographics.

“The safety and efficacy data that will be reviewed from that trial from both the FDA and CDC will help inform what population should receive that vaccine," Gray said. "It is more effective in older vs younger populations.”

Gray said the commonwealth will likely take a phased approach to COVID-19 vaccines because of supply, and while equity is the states' goal, the most exposed and vulnerable are at the top of the list to receive vaccinations, like healthcare and essential workers and residents in long-term care facilities.

“That is based on those that are most likely at risk of infection and those that if infected [are] at-risk of severe infection,” she said.

Gray said some healthcare providers may not have the capacity or means to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Virginia COVID-19 Vaccination Plan says, “Cold chain storage and handling requirements for each COVID-19 vaccine product will vary from refrigerated (2º to 8ºC) to frozen (-20ºC) to ultra-cold (-60º to -80ºC) temperatures, and ongoing stability testing may impact these requirements.”

But as supply increases, Gray said where you get your flu shot could eventually be where you can also get a COVID-19 shot.

For more information on the Virginia COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, click here.

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