RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Health says all of its about 140,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in the commonwealth by Wednesday. Some health care facilities already have the vaccine in hand.
HCA Health Care wasted no time providing the Moderna vaccine to its employees this week.
Virginia health districts are some of the first in the nation to get the Moderna vaccine and every facility that will get this first shipment will have them by Wednesday. The Moderna vaccine and the previously-approved Pfizer vaccine are being distributed to 96 sites around the state.
Dr. Jake O’Shea of HCA Healthcare says it didn’t take long at all for his group to begin vaccinating their workers, which includes medical staff at Chippenham and Johnston-Willis hospitals.
“This is really hope, and hope has arrived for us…Healthcare workers have been doing everything they can on the front lines to really take care of their community,” he said.
Health districts have been working on plans on how to get the vaccine to Group 1A - health care workers and long-term care residents. Most long-term care facilities will be receiving their vaccinations onsite from CVS and Walgreens vaccination teams. Those vaccinations are expected to begin the week of Dec. 28.
“We’ve had people who have been overjoyed to get the vaccine and some people have been so emotional that they’ve been brought to tears just because they’re so thankful to have the opportunity,” O’Shea said.
Virginia ordered 140,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, just days after the FDA gave the green light. Also this week, 50,000 more Pfizer vaccines.
Virginia is planning for a weekly allocation of 100,000 doses of vaccine - about 50,000 of each type - for the next few weeks based on planning estimates.
“The actual amount of vaccine received in Virginia is a moving target and is dependent on when and how quickly vaccination doses are manufactured,” VDH said.
Leading by example, Dr. O’Shea made sure he got vaccinated himself.
“After about several thousand of our fellow colleagues here in Virginia, I was able to get one…[It was] like a flu shot. It was a piece of cake. My arm was a little sore the next day but that just tells me that it’s working like it’s supposed to,” O’Shea said.
“Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic. With Pfizer-BioNTech and now Moderna vaccines available, more Virginians are able to get vaccinated,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. ”The interest we are seeing from community members on when they can get vaccinated indicates people want this protection. We are working hard to get vaccines to people as quickly as possible. In the meantime, please continue to wear a face mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.”
While people are started to be vaccinated, everyone is urged to continue to take precautions to help limit the spread of the virus.
The vaccine is expected to be widely available for the general public by the summer.
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