HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - As scientists are working to create a COVID-19 vaccine, the Virginia Department of Health is also getting ready to figure out how the vaccines will be distributed.
Medical providers around the state just received a letter from the Virginia Department of Health asking them to register if they intend to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine once it is ready.
“This is the first step in the provider enrollment process is for providers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Christy Gray, the Virginia Department of Heath Director of Division of Immunization.
“We are preparing for November, but there is no percentage of guarantee with that time frame. We just wanted to be ready,” said Gray.
Officials hope to have a vaccine within the next few months, but the state is preparing in case a vaccine is made available sooner.
Any vaccine made available will still need to be approved by the FDA and CDC, and once it is approved it will likely go to the most vulnerable populations.
“So we can make sure that it’s equitable and only distributed to the highest risk populations first as well as medical providers out there,” said Dr. Ryan Light with the Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group.
But at this point, Gray said exactly who will qualify as the most vulnerable has not yet be determined.
“There are several discussions happening at the federal, state and community levels to help identify what makes sense most for Virginia and the national level,” said Gray.
Gray said handling vaccines is something they are trained to do and practice regularly. She admits this has been a tough year.
“I think 2020 has been hard on all of us, but here at the health department we have robust public health plans that we practice every year,” said Gray. “The safety of the Commonwealth and our citizens is our number one priority, and we’re making sure that any decisions on the distribution and administration of any new vaccines are based on science.”
Click here to see a copy of the letter that was sent out.