Northam: Virginia set to receive 70,000 COVID-19 vaccines to start

Northam: Virginia set to receive 70,000 COVID-19 vaccines to start

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam says 70,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are slated for Virginia and could arrive within weeks.

Wednesday, Northam laid out the state’s plan to get shots into arms during a coronavirus response briefing.

Watch the briefing below:

Gov. Northam holds first COVID-19 update after Thanksgiving holiday

“You will not get COVID from this vaccine,” said Northam.

Those 70,000 doses will go to health care workers and nursing home residents. Pfizer promised an additional 70,000 for a follow-up dose. But the state’s epidemiologist says it won’t be enough. The state estimates there are half a million people in those two groups.

“Health care workers take care of the rest of us and nursing home residents are some of our most vulnerable people. It’s like when you get on an airplane, and they tell you if something goes wrong to put on your own mask first so that you can safely help other people,” said Northam.

By Friday, the state must decide how to fairly distribute the limited vaccine between both groups. That’s when Virginia’s finalized distribution plan is due to the federal government.

“We are working on our distribution plan to ensure that the vaccine gets to all parts of Virginia and we’re looking at doing that equitably,” said Dr. Lilian Peake, State Epidemiologist Director.

Northam says the state will use a three-phase approach for rollout to the 8.5 million living here. It will take a few months to get everyone in phase one vaccinated. Phase two would include critical workers and those medically vulnerable. In phase three, the general public could see shots available by the end of spring or early summer.

“It’s significant numbers of folks who are over 65 or have chronic conditions, and essential workers, infrastructure, etc. it’s millions of folks so it will be a ways before we get it to the general public,” said Dr. Daniel Carey, Secretary of Health and Human Resources.

It’s been about two weeks since the governor tightened COVID-19 safety regulations statewide. Northam says it takes two to three weeks for the data to come in to see if that’s working or if more will need to be done.

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