Delegates push for Northern Virginia to be designated as mass vaccination site

Virginia is among several states that will be getting more vaccines, a promise that Governor Ralph Northam is hoping the Biden administration will make good on.

Northam announced on Wednesday that a 16 percent increase in the coming weeks should help with the state’s continuous vaccine rollout.

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But some elected officials and health experts in Northern Virginia said that what they need are mega-sites in order to accommodate more and more people looking to get the shots.

The mass vaccination site would be something similar to what the neighboring state of Maryland is doing by opening up six mass vaccination sites, including one at Six Flags America in Prince George’s County.

READ MORE: COVID-19 vaccine centers opening at Baltimore Convention Center, Six Flags in Bowie

In Fairfax County, for example, the board of supervisors submitted sites to the state for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to use, one of which includes the Dulles Expo Center.

Jeffrey McKay, chairman for the board told FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan that the county has the capability now to do vaccinations at a large rate with the locations they already have but what they really need is more supply.

"I can administer as many vaccines as the feds will send me," said Virginia Rep. Don Beyer. "I don’t need them to run a mass clinic to do it unless their mass clinic adds to the vaccine numbers we have coming to Fairfax County."

Northern Virginia’s congressional delegation, including representatives Don Beyer (D-Va.), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), and Jennifer T. Wexton (D-Va.) want FEMA to put a mass vaccination site in the area which they believe could help knock down long vaccine waiting lists in areas such as Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and beyond because these areas have the capacity to administer what they believe, many more vaccine doses than the region has been able to actually deliver. 

"We are just looking for one site, maybe two," explained Beyer. "You can do a northern and a southern side of Virginia but it doesn’t have to be a football stadium. There are a lot of high school stadiums that work just as fine but the issues are availability and maybe proximity to Metro."

Ayesha contacted the Virginia Department of Health and in a statement from spokeswoman Tammie Smith, she was told that the department is currently narrowing down a list of sites for mass vaccination. No further details on which sites, were immediately provided. 

Ayesha also contacted FEMA for a comment regarding the push from Virginia officials to make Northern Virginia a mass vaccination site.

In a statement we were told:

"FEMA continues its partnership with our federal, state and local partners in our ongoing battle against COVID-19. To date we have obligated more than $1.2 billion to governmental partners with vaccination sites, including $219.5 million to Maryland, $2.2 million to Virginia and an additional $2.3 million to Washington, D.C. The agency will continue to work with our state and local partners to ensure resources are available to support vaccine distribution and administration, including support for leasing space to store and/or administer vaccines, including utilities, maintenance and security, supplies and commodities needed to safely store and administer the vaccine. Additionally, FEMA, in collaboration with federal partners, will coordinate efforts to establish and support fixed facilities and establishing pop-up or temporary vaccination sites and mobile vaccination clinics."