Source: Virginia Department of Health website
Two COVID-19 vaccines, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine, have been authorized for emergency use by the FDA and recommended by CDC. The first vaccines arrived in Virginia in December 2020 and are currently being administered to healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. These vaccines come in several smaller shipments, and there is currently limited supply. Additional doses are expected in early 2021 and will be provided to more Virginians, but the exact timeline is not yet known. Availability will increase in the coming months.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviewed vaccine studies and made recommendations on who should receive the COVID-19 vaccine first. Certain groups will get the vaccine first based on their higher risks for COVID-19. The first vaccines are going to healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities in Phase 1a. The next priority group, Phase 1b, includes frontline essential workers and people 75 and older. Then, people aged 16-74 with high-risk medical conditions, people aged 65-74, and other essential workers are the next priority group in Phase 1c. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is reviewing the recommendations for Phases 1b and 1c and will provide further guidance soon.
Virginians who do not fall into priority categories will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when it is more widely available. Children will be offered vaccines only after the vaccine is tested and approved for children. At this time, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is recommended for people aged 16 and older, and the Moderna vaccine is recommended for people aged 18 and older.