Virginia state health official updates lawmakers on vaccine latest

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — If federal regulators approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Virginia could begin receiving limited doses as early as mid-December.

That’s according to state epidemiologist Dr. Lilian Peake, who spoke with state lawmakers Monday.

“There’s a lot of logistical considerations,” Peake said.

Manufacturers have already started stockpiling doses in anticipation of approval. But the first doses will be in short supply.

“We are working with CDC to pre-position the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine at health systems that have ultra cold refrigeration,” Peake said.

She said that’s to shorten the time between the Emergency Use Authorization approval and distributing the vaccines.

Peake outlined the phased approach Virginia plans to use to distribute the doses.

She expects health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff will be prioritized.

“We will be going to those who are most susceptible, to our healthcare workers and also those individuals that work and live in our long term care facilities,” Peake said.

However, a federal panel that will make those recommendations hasn’t yet issued its guidance.

Gov. Ralph Northam hopes all Virginians will be vaccinated by mid-summer. He estimated that the state will initially have around 70,000 doses.

WTOP’s Valerie Bonk contributed to this report. 

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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