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Alexandria Preparing for First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

Alexandria could have the COVID-19 vaccine this month, but the first doses won’t be available to the general public until next spring.

Nearly a half million healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents across Virginia at risk of being infected will get the first doses from the Virginia Department of Health, and it is not yet known when the rest of the public will get the vaccine.

“We know that, initially, there will be very limited supplies and the federal government will be advising and even requiring us to vaccinate certain persons first,” Dr. Stephen Haering, director of the Alexandria Health Department, told City Council last month.

Vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are currently undergoing Food and Drug Administration approval. Once approved, it is estimated that 480,000 doses will be distributed across Virginia.

Haering said that essential workers, like first responders and government employees would be next to get the vaccine, followed by the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions. He estimates that the AHD will vaccinate up to 35% of the city’s population.

The vaccine will free and eventually available at grocery stores, as well as chain and independent pharmacies, according to the VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.

“One of the things we’re doing is focusing a lot of our resources on vaccine PODs (Points Of Dispensing),” Haering said. “We’re anticipating that pharmacies will be vaccinating the long-term care facilities, but we’re planning on doing that if for some reason that falls through.”

Mayor Justin Wilson said the city needs to be clear on a timeline for who will get vaccinated.

“I imagine we are going to need to communicate extremely clearly with the public as it relates to vaccination prioritizations, particularly early on when the supply is limited,” Wilson said.

Photo via CDC on Upsplash

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