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Virginia COVID-19 vaccine priorities: Healthcare personnel, long-term care

Virginia covid-19
(© Ingo Menhard –

Virginia is preparing to receive an estimated total of 480,000 doses of vaccine by the end of the month, and is prioritizing healthcare personnel and residents in long-term care facilities to receive a first dose.

Which would just about cover it: the Virginia Department of Health estimates that there are, give or take, 500,000 HCP and LTCF residents in Virginia.

The first shipment of vaccines is expected to be received from Pfizer in the next week or two. All 72,150 initial doses will be distributed directly to geographically diverse healthcare systems with ultracold storage capacity, and will go to healthcare personnel, with personnel that directly care for COVID-19 patients will receive top priority among healthcare providers.

“Vaccine will be provided to Virginians in a way that is fair, ethical, and transparent,” said Virginia State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver. “We will focus initially on the groups that have been most at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infections and those whose work puts them at greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 infections.

“Over time, as more vaccine supply becomes available, more Virginians will be able to get vaccinated, and we can look forward to a time when this pandemic will end.”

Long-term care residents have borne the brunt of the impact of COVID-19 in Virginia. According to the VDH, 2,024 of the 4,197 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the Commonwealth – 48.2 percent – have come among residents of long-term care facilities.

According to the CDC, there have been 858 COVID-19-associated deaths among healthcare professionals across the entire U.S.

A Kaiser Family Foundation report puts the figure for deaths among LTCF residents and staff nationally over the 100,000 mark.

But LTCF residents are second in line. After the initial shipment that will be directed to healthcare professionals, the subsequent weekly shipments will be divided among HCP and LTCF residents.

The majority of LTCF in Virginia will receive vaccinations from CVS and Walgreens’ teams onsite through a federal CDC-pharmacy-LTCF partnership.

Healthcare systems and public health will ensure access to vaccination for all HCP and LTCF residents equitably across the entire state.

For more information about VDH’s COVID-19 Vaccination Response Plan, visit

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press