News & Politics

Virginia Is Planning Mass Immunization Clinics to Vaccinate Residents Against Covid

A huge planning effort is underway. Here's what it looks like so far.

Photo-illustration by Jenny Rosenberg.
Coronavirus 2020

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Virginia has released its working plan for vaccinating residents against the coronavirus, first published by non-profit newsroom Virginia Mercury. The 59-page draft was submitted to the CDC last week, and will continue to evolve as a vaccine is developed.

Here’s what the state health department is anticipating as of now:

  • Mass immunization clinics: Virginia is planning for big vaccination clinics in communities around the state. The cost estimate to establish and run them? $71 million. The amount includes the capital needed to hire clinic staff, rent space, create signs, and more.
  • Three waves of vaccinations: During phase 1, the vaccine will go to priority populations with high risk for severely contracting the virus. The general public will be able to line up during phase 2. Additional booster vaccines may be available in phase 3.
  • Healthcare workers first: The federal government will counsel states on who should be in priority groups. Virginia’s plan says the phase-1 group will likely include healthcare workers, critical infrastructure workers, and those working and residing in assisted living facilities.
  • Messaging, messaging, messaging: Virginia expects to need $3 million for a PR campaign targeting diverse audiences, dispensing information in multiple languages and with consideration for different cultural and religious norms.
  • Schools may be among the vaccination sites: K-12 schools, as well as college campuses, are among the sites in play for mass clinics. Other sites might include food pantries and senior centers.
  • They’re going to need a lot of refrigerators: The vaccine will need cold storage, down to -328 degrees Fahrenheit. The Commonwealth is expecting to spend $2.5 million on fridges, freezers, thermometers, and other temperature-control equipment.

Read the full draft of Virginia’s vaccination plan here.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.