I know everyone is eager for concrete information regarding the vaccine. Unfortunately, as of March 2021, the process for distributing vaccine has been largely aspirational and, as many of you have noted, is in flux.
Currently, much of Virginia is currently in phase 1a. Northern Virginia and the Roanoke area are in phase 1b. Richmond has announced they will move into phase 1b on the 17th. Just to add to the confusion Gov. Northam expanded the definition of phase 1b which lowered the age from 75 to 65 years old and includes those younger with “an underlying medical condition”.
However, the supply of vaccine and its distribution remains problematic. Chesterfield has yet to complete phase 1a and is currently working to get long term care facilities immunized.
Rockwell Physicians has applied to the Virginia Department of Health (last year) to be a vaccinator but, as yet, has not received any notice of when vaccine would be available to us.
My current recommendation for those who fit into phase 1b to obtain the vaccine in whatever venue is first available. I suspect, big box pharmacies will be part of the distribution and, perhaps, prior to availability to our practice.
The Virginia Department of Health has a registration website that is collecting information on those wishing to be vaccinated. The intent appears to be to notify registrants when vaccine will be available to them.
I do recommend the vaccine for most of you. You should consider avoiding or delaying if:
- Allergic to vaccine ingredients (rare).
- Separate any other vaccinations by at least 2 weeks.
- I would also recommend that if you have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 that you delay taking the vaccine for at least 3 months. The SIREN study (released last week) from the UK, suggests that natural immunity is 83–99% for at least 5 months.