Written By: Prince William County
|There are now two COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S., Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines. On December 20, 2020, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) panel voted on who will receive the vaccine next. The next groups in Phase 1 to be vaccinated are adults 75 years old and older and frontline essential workers. After that adults 65-74 and those 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions as well as essential workers who were not included in the earlier phase. Then eventually the public; however, phase 1a still has not been completed. |
Here is a look at Phase 1: Phase 1a – Frontline health professionals and residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Phase 1b – Adults aged 75 and older and frontline essential workers. Phase 1c – Adults 65-74 and those 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions as well as essential workers not included in the earlier phase.
On Monday, December 14, Virginia began receiving its first vaccines. The vaccines went to 18 hospitals across the state. Virginia, like other states, received a limited supply of the vaccine. Virginia received 72,150 doses. The decision was made to protect the most vulnerable because of the scarcity of the vaccine. The two groups being vaccinated first; frontline health professionals (those medical workers who are at high-risk for getting COVID-19) and residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The virus has disproportionately impacted the elderly.
Also, Virginia originally had expected to receive 480-thousand doses of the vaccine from the federal government by the end of December. But that has been reduced by at least 109-thousand doses. This continues to be a very fluid situation.
Both vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are newly approved and are beginning to ramp up production of the vaccine. As this is a pandemic, these vaccines are made for people across the world. Governor Ralph Northam welcomed the first shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Virginia at Bon Secours hospital in Richmond.
Governor Northam says, “These initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are a much-needed symbol of hope for our Commonwealth and our country. With this remarkable medical achievement, we are beginning to see the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.” The governor witnessed the first shots administered to frontline health care workers. Virginia’s State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver says after Phase 1 is completed and vaccine supplies become more abundant, that is when the public will start to be vaccinated.
But the question is when. It is a tough question to answer since how much vaccine the state will receive and when is a moving target. Dr. Norman says it could be in the summer.
The vaccine is not a cure. It is one more tool to fight against this pandemic that means even after getting a COVID-19 vaccine we will still need to wear face masks; we will still need to social distance six-feet or more and we will still need to wash our hands frequently.
To-date the Prince William Health District has not received any of the vaccines. The vaccines have been paid for by the American taxpayers. Therefore, residents will not pay for the vaccine. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available at pwcgov.org/COVID19.