Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced the commonwealth’s plan for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to residents by priority groups, as he urged Virginians to ready themselves for a long winter with high rates of infection.
Northam said that his administration’s goal is to get to 25,000 shots distributed every day in the short-term.
“Hitting it will depend on manufacturing ramping up and supplies being distributed to states over time,” he said. “We don’t have everything we need yet — no state does — because it’s being manufactured, literally, in real-time.”
Because the vaccines available at the moment require two doses, Northam said that the amount distributed per day would need to double later this year in order for the commonwealth to hit its goals for number of residents vaccinated.
Northam also laid out the priority order for Virginians to receive the vaccine. It largely follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for priority groups.
Priority 1 has been broken into subgroups a, b and c with Priority 1a being the highest priority and the first to receive the vaccine in Virginia.
Northam said that teachers would be a Priority 1 group because it was critical to get schools reopened so that more Virginians could get back to work.
“Opening schools doesn’t depend on vaccinating teachers, but that sure will make it a lot easier,” he said. “That’s why we have chosen to put teachers so high on the list of essential workers.”
Front-line workers, such as EMTs, police and firefighters are also in the Priority 1 group.
Northam said all Priority 1 groups combined would account for roughly half of the population of the state.
In preparation for the further rollout of the vaccine, Northam put Dr. Danny TK Avula in charge of vaccine distribution for Virginia.
Shortly after the press conference, Northam announced that he had been in contact with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and had arranged for members of Virginia’s National Guard to assist with efforts to contain pro-Trump protesters who had stormed the Capitol Building amid clashes with Capitol police officers.
Per the Mayor’s request, I am sending members of the Virginia National Guard along with 200 Virginia State Troopers.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 6, 2021
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