Va. expands COVID-19 vaccine pool through pharmacies

Virginia is widening COVID-19 vaccine eligibility during Phase 1B thanks to a federal program that is sending doses directly to pharmacies nationwide.

The Department of Health said partners with the Federal Retail Pharmacy initiative will start offering appointments to people between ages 16 to 64 who have high-risk medical conditions, along with a host of other essential frontline workers.

Examples of qualifying positions range from police and firefighters, manufacturing, mail carriers, homeless shelter employees, grocery store workers and faith and clergy leaders.

There are currently more than 300 pharmacies offering shots across the commonwealth. Based on supply and demand along with equity, VDH said the federal government could eventually increase the number of locations to more than 1,000 at some point.

The move comes a day after the commonwealth said some health districts are going to begin moving into Phase 1C this week, although several within the immediate D.C. metro area have told WTOP they’re not ready just yet.

The city of Alexandria’s health department said it still has “thousands” on a waiting list in Phase 1B.

Arlington County is still working through phases 1A and 1B, but is “receiving approximately 3,000 first doses per week and are administering more than 97% of those.”

Loudoun County said it’s also focused on “the remainder” of Phase 1B.

Fairfax County was the only local health district that offered a timeline of sorts, by planning to move to Phase 1C “by mid-April” in accordance with VDH guidelines.

More Coronavirus News

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.

Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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