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Northam announces $22M toward planning for distribution of COVID-19 vaccine

Virginia covid-19
(© Ingo Menhard –

Virginia is taking the first significant steps to plan ahead for the eventual distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced today that $22 million in CARES Act funding is being used to create a statewide plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines when such vaccines are approved for public use.

draft vaccination plan was submitted to the CDC earlier this month.

Several companies are working to create COVID-19 vaccines, which are expected to be finalized and approved for distribution in the coming months. A mass vaccination program will require advance planning for purchases of equipment, support for local health districts, staff to manage the program, warehousing medical supplies, and communicating with the public.

“We look forward to the day that a safe vaccine for COVID-19 is available for public use, so that we can get closer to living normal lives,” Northam said. “We want to be ready to help Virginians get that vaccine as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. This funding will support the Virginia Department of Health’s vaccine preparations, so distribution will go more smoothly when a vaccine becomes available. I encourage Virginians to get this vaccine when it is available—that is our best way to end this pandemic.”

The CARES Act dollars will support the Virginia Department of Health’s vaccination preparation and planning through the end of 2020. The Commonwealth will identify additional sources of funding to continue to support the vaccination program in 2021.

The Virginia Department of Health’s estimates the vaccination program will cost approximately $120 million.

The plan outlines key components for preparing and implementing a COVID-19 vaccination program including:

  • Assumptions, variables, and scenarios that can impact vaccine planning
  • Measures to identify and estimate critical populations and establish vaccine priority groups
  • Measures for provider recruitment, enrollment, and training
  • Process for vaccine allocation, ordering, distribution, inventory management, and reporting doses administered
  • Guidelines for appropriate vaccine storage and handling
  • Methods for second dose reminders to ensure compliance with vaccine dosing intervals (most COVID-19 vaccines require two doses separated by 21 or 28 days) and achieve optimal vaccine effectiveness
  • Systems for vaccine safety monitoring
  • Procedures for vaccination program monitoring, including online dashboards
  • Efforts to build confidence and inform the public about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, working with trusted community partners