RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Department of Health leaders have designated 12 locations across the Commonwealth for potential mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
The state’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Daniel Carey presented the office’s priorities for 2021 to the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee on Tuesday.
Governor Ralph Northam has tasked VDH with administering 25,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Carey said they hoped to meet that goal by Valentine’s Day and to ready the infrastructure to administer 50,000 doses-per-day by April 1.
In order to achieve that goal, VDH plans to distribute vaccinations via mass public clinics, local health departments, pharmacies, general providers, and hospital systems.
In Central Virginia, the locations proposed for mass clinics include the Arthur Ashe Center in Richmond, the Richmond Raceway in Henrico’s East End, and the Chesterfield Fairgrounds on Courthouse Road.
Each location would require 15 vaccinators and 25 support staff.
Dr. Carey said the state is working on mobile vaccination clinics to serve the Commonwealth’s rural areas. But, he explained that demand largely outpaces the number of doses-on-hand.
“At the current rate of [receiving] 100,000 doses-per-week, just to get Phase 1B would take through the end of this year. We know we want more and more vaccine and the federal government has indicated they will. But they will not have it before March at the earliest.”
Any new doses of the COVID-19 vaccine would arrive from the production line and not a stockpile, Carey said.
Nearly half of Virginia’s population is eligible to receive a vaccine based on the Governor’s phased roll out of the vaccine.
Approximately 564,000 people are included in Phase 1A, which covers healthcare workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities.
Phase 1B included first responders and other front line workers like police, fire, teachers, and grocery store employees. Individuals 65 years and older or those with co-morbid conditions also qualify for Phase 1B.
“You see the challenge of having to get out vaccine to over 4 million Virginians when you have 100,000 doses of the first dose coming in per week, hence the need for a prioritization system,” Carey stated.
Most people who fit in Phase 1A or 1B will receive their dose through their employer. For everyone else, they will have to wait.
Carey also acknowledged that a scheduling platform provided by the CDC hasn’t delivered. He said his office is working to implement their own scheduling system to speed up vaccinations.
“I think next week we will start seeing significant improvements and I’m working on communicating that: not only that you’re eligible, but when can I get in?” Carey explained.
The Virginia Department of Health created this questionnaire that should help provide some answers when it’s your turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The United States also reached a grim milestone on Tuesday: 400,000 people have died due to complications of the disease, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.