VIRGINIA (WDVM) — A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines is soon on its way to Virginia. The state expects to receive 480,000 vaccines set to vaccinate two groups, healthcare workers and long-term care residents.
The state estimates there are about 500,000 residents who meet that category and will receive the first dose.
With cases surging in Fairfax, many are wondering when the vaccine will be available to the public and if it is safe to take.
Dr. Laurie Forlano, VDH’s Deputy Commissioner for Population Health said she will be first in line when the vaccine is ready after FDA and state-level scrutiny.
“The vaccines and vaccine safety, in general, is of the utmost importance to VDH and general healthcare practitioners and healthcare providers nationwide,” said Forlano.
A group called the Vaccine Safety and Efficacy Subgroup will independently review all vaccine-related data as an extra step to ensure vaccine safety.
“It’s comprised of people like physicians, epidemiologists, pharmacists, etc, and we’ll make sure we’re comfortable. I have no reason to think that our group wouldn’t be, but obviously, I think it’s an important step to do here in Virginia,” stated Forlano.
Dr. Forlano reminds Virginians, the FDA scrutinizes every component of a new vaccine as they have for decades, coming out with guidelines for particular populations.
“They reviewed data on who should receive the vaccine, a good example of that is children right now, so the studies have not been sufficiently done yet on those populations, so we wouldn’t expect a recommendation for children right now,” said Forlano.
As we wait for the vaccine to be available to the public, many officials are recommending getting a flu vaccine.
“It’s not too late to vaccinate, as we like to say. It’s a great time to go out and get a flu vaccine if you haven’t already, it’s still very important. It’s incredibly important this year with COVID to minimize the number of influenza infections to help protect not only each other, but the capacity of our healthcare system,” expressed Forlano.
VDH officials cannot say for sure who will get the next round of vaccines, but based on FDA guidelines, they are considering critical infrastructure workers and people with medical conditions who may be more vulnerable to severe illness and death.
VDH said there will be more details and guidelines from the federal government soon.
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