PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A COVID-19 vaccine is on its way, but it may take a while to distribute it to everyone.
Where will you fall in line?
Basically, the higher your risk for COVID-19 — the higher your place in line.
The Virginia Department of Health has been working on a vaccine distribution plan for months. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association is part of the advisory panel making recommendations to the state on how it will work.
VHHA spokesman, Julian Walke, told 10 On Your Side, “Healthcare personnel who are directly engaged in the care of or interact with patients known or suspected to have COVID-19, that would be sort of the highest subprioritization. The next one would be healthcare personnel who are not known or suspected to be infected with COVID 19 but who are at high risk for infection.”
Sentara and Riverside Health Systems confirmed they will be among seven sites in the state to receive some of the initial doses from Pfizer. Those seven sites will cover 70% of Virginia’s acute care hospitals.
Nursing homes, which also fall under phase one of the distribution plan, had the option to partner with CVS and Walgreens. Through a deal with the state, the pharmacy chains will vaccinate residents on-site for free.
Once these two sub-groups of phase one are vaccinated, the Commonwealth will turn to other vulnerable Virginians — including other healthcare workers, emergency responders, school staff, certain racial and ethnic minorities, and those over 60 years old.
Governor Ralph Northam said Virginia will get 70,000 doses total for the first allotment, which is just a fraction of what is needed to vaccinate the state’s vulnerable population estimated to be about 1.5 to 2 million people. Governor Northam’s hope it will be available to the general population this summer.
Once the vaccine is widely available, there will be a national COVID-19 vaccine locator on the CDC website that will help you determine your own eligibility for the vaccine and where you can get it.