Less than a week after the Food and Drug Administration authorized an emergency rollout of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, Virginia health officials said that tens of thousands of its doses would soon be distributed statewide.
Virginia had placed an order for 140,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine — the second vaccine approved for widespread use by federal officials. Those doses are expected Thursday at the state’s regional health departments and care facilities.
“Both the previously-approved Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccines are being distributed to 96 sites this week at geographically diverse locations,” the Virginia Department of Health said in a statement.
In addition to the 140,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, Virginia also received 50,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week.
“Virginia is planning for a weekly allocation of a total of 100,000 doses of vaccine (about 50,000 doses of each type of vaccine) for the next few weeks,” VDH said.
“The actual amount of vaccine received in Virginia is a moving target and is dependent on when and how quickly vaccination doses are manufactured.”
Doses are currently going to front line health care employees and residents and staff at long-term health care facilities, such as nursing homes.
During a budget address last week, Gov. Ralph Northam said the vaccine signified “the light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.”
Maryland health officials said that the state this week was being shipped 104,300 doses of Moderna’s vaccine and 36,075 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The District will receive more than 30,000 doses this week — 13,650 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 20,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Those totals include 8,775 doses of the Pfizer vaccine coming from Virginia, and 8,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine from Maryland.
Early results of large, still unfinished studies show both vaccines appear safe and strongly protective although Moderna’s is easier to handle since it doesn’t need to be stored at ultra-frozen temperatures.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.