Gov. Northam announces $22 million for Va. COVID-19 vaccination program

Local Coronavirus Coverage

FILE PHOTO: A small bottle labeled with a “Vaccine” sticker is held near a medical syringe in front of displayed “Coronavirus COVID-19” words in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic//File Photo

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday $22 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding will be used to create a statewide program to distribute COVID-19 vaccines when they are approved for public use.

According to a Friday morning release, the commonwealth’s draft vaccination plan was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month.

“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.”

Several companies are working to create coronavirus vaccines, which, according to the governor’s office, are expected to be finalized and approved for distribution in the coming months. Officials say funding will allow for advance planning for purchases of equipment, support for local health districts, staff to manage the vaccination program, warehousing medical supplies, and communicating with the public.

According to a release, additional sources of funding will be identified to continue to support the vaccination program in 2021. The Virginia Department of Health estimates the program will cost approximately $120 million.

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