Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam releases vaccine distribution plan
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam just announced 70,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine could be distributed in the Commonwealth as soon as mid-December –– if Pfizer gets FDA approval at its hearing on December 10.
“The vaccine news is extremely, extremely hopeful. It is the light at the end of this very long and dark tunnel. It is the only way we can solve this health crisis and the resulting economic crisis and get back to a normal way of life,” said Northam.
READ MORE: Attorney: Employers likely able to require COVID-19 vaccine
iNova Fairfax Hospital confirmed to FOX 5 they will begin dry run tests of vaccine distribution to practice receiving and storing it next week.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, there are several facilities across the state set up with ultra-cold storage sites for the vaccine. Officials are not releasing where due to security concerns.
READ MORE: FDA chief says agency will get COVID-19 vaccine 'right' amid pressure for rushed release
In Virginia, there will be three different phases for the initial shipment of the vaccine. The first phase will go out to healthcare workers and people in nursing homes. The second phase includes frontline workers like teachers and food preparers. The last phase will be the general public.
Northam wants to ensure Virginians that the vaccine is safe.
READ MORE: US panel to decide who should get the first COVID shots
“Vaccines do not give you COVID-19. Instead, they spur your body to produce anti-bodies to the disease,” said Northam. “Remember – this is a global pandemic and the best science available worldwide has gone into researching these vaccines.”
The Governor adds that after the first doses are given out, Pfizer will be able to deliver an additional 70,000 for a second dose - about three weeks later.
Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather
Aside from the vaccine, Northam also mentioned there are troubling increases in the state’s percent positivity rate and number of hospitalizations due to people gathering in large groups.
New statewide COVID-19 measures in Virginia were implemented before Thanksgiving. Health officials said it takes two to three weeks to see an impact, but as the pandemic continues, all options remain on the table moving forward.
“If you want your kids back in school, our small businesses to reopen and thrive, and to go to concerts and entertainment events again, there’s only one way to get there – wear a mask and social distance now, and get a vaccine when the time comes,” said Northam.
He mentioned there will be enough vaccine for everyone, but it will take some time. In the meantime, Northam is reminding the Commonwealth to stay patient and vigilant.