COVID-19 Vaccine Update

A reader asked me earlier today to provide an update on COVID-19 vaccines in Crozet; coincidentally and conveniently, this was sitting in my inbox, and I’m publishing with Dr. McLaughlin’s permission. I have also found the Charlottesville Community Engagement daily newsletter and podcast informative about the pandemic (and many other things).

From Blue Ridge Family practice:

Blue Ridge Family Practice January 2021

In this issue:
-COVID-19 vaccine
-Clinic COVID-19 protocols
-Flu vaccine
-A Pandemic of Kindness

Light at the end of the (Crozet) tunnel
COVID-19 vaccines

We have all been in need of some good news, and we have gotten it, in the form of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been developed by Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna.  These are 94-95% effective at preventing COVID-19, and have an excellent safety profile.

Detailed information about the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, including how they work and potential side effects, can be found here.

Some have asked Tim and I if we plan to get the vaccine.  The answer is yes.  We are currently awaiting an email letting us know that we can get scheduled, and as soon as we receive that, we will be scheduling our vaccinations.

Our practice has also formally applied with the health department to give the COVID-19 vaccine to our patients.  We do not yet know if vaccine will be able to be distributed to our clinic, or when this might happen.  We will update all of you as soon as we have specific information about this.  In the meantime, if you have an opportunity to get vaccinated through your work, a volunteer organization, or the health department, we recommend that you pursue that, in order to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

We also recommend that, if you live in Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, or Nelson country, you sign up to receive emails from the Blue Ridge Health District, which will include the latest COVID-19 vaccine information.  Sign up for their emails here.

Patients who are 75 years and up and live in Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson can fill out this survey to be placed on a list for the Blue Ridge Health District to contact you once more information about vaccination is available.

If you are living in or coordinating services for those in a correctional facility, homeless shelter, or migrant labor camp, you may also fill out this survey.  This survey is to make the health department aware of your need to be vaccinated; it does not guarantee availability of the vaccine.

More information regarding COVID-19 vaccination in the Blue Ridge Health District can be found here

If you do not live in Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, or Nelson counties, please click here to find information for your local health district

Please continue social distancing with those outside your household–keeping a distance of at least six feet, avoiding sharing indoor spaces, and masking when indoor or close outdoor contact is necessary. 

The light is here at the end of the tunnel, we just need to get through to it!
Vaccination updates from the Virginia Department of Health

I have included below information sent today, January 11, 2021, to physicians from the Virginia Department of Health regarding COVID-19 vaccination in Virginia. 

We will continue to share further updates with you regarding vaccination as we receive them.

Updates on COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization for Phases 1b and 1c

Because of the limited supply, COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed in a phased approach.  Phase 1a, which began on December 15, involved vaccinating healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.  On January 6, Governor Northam announced additional details about the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, including the next two phases: Phases 1b and 1c.In the future, as additional local health districts move to Phase 1b, they will issue press releases and keep their webpages up-to-date with this information.Virginia’s local health districts will progress through prioritization phases at different times, depending on vaccine supply and demand.  These health districts are starting Phase 1b today:

– Alexandria
– Arlington
– Fairfax
– Loudoun
– Prince William
-Lord Fairfax
-Cumberland Plateau
– Lenowisco
– Mount Rogers
– New River
– Roanoke/Allegheny

Phase 1 b involves vaccinating people in these groups:

– Frontline essential workers (police, fire, and hazmat; corrections and homeless shelter workers; childcare and K-12 teachers and staff; food and agriculture [including veterinarians and veterinary technicians]; manufacturing; grocery store workers; public transit workers; public and private mail carriers; and officials needed to maintain continuity of government) 
– Persons aged 75 years and older
– People living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor campsThe manner in which people in these groups access vaccination depends on the group and local health district. People aged 75 years and older could be offered the vaccine through their healthcare provider, local health department, or through arrangements with pharmacies or healthcare systems.Frontline essential workers are most likely to receive the vaccine through employer-based vaccination clinics. Others could get it through their local health department or through arrangements with pharmacies, healthcare providers or healthcare systems.Persons living in congregate settings will be offered vaccine through the facility’s occupational health program, the local health department, or through arrangements with pharmacies or healthcare systems.It will take several weeks to months to vaccinate Virginians who fall into Phase 1b.

The ability to schedule appointments will depend on the supply of vaccine available. Vaccine supply in the United States is still very limited. Currently the federal government is allocating about 110,000 doses of vaccine to Virginia a week.

The amount of vaccine available in the United States will depend on the capabilities of the manufacturers to produce the vaccine safely and is expected to increase gradually over the next months.

Phase 1c involves vaccinating people in these groups:

Other essential workers (energy, water and wastewater, housing construction, food service, transportation and logistics, institutions of higher education faculty and staff, finance, information technology and communication, media, legal services, public safety [engineers], and other public health workers)

People aged 65 through 74 years

People aged 16 through 64 years with a high-risk medical condition or disability that increases their risk for severe COVID-19
Dr. Tim, Dr. Maura, and nurse Michelle at our clinic
A Pandemic of Kindness

The Osterholm Update, a weekly podcast by epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, continues to be an excellent source of information about the COVID-19 pandemic.  Episodes are available here..  At this website, you can also read about contributions from people around the world to a “A Pandemic of Kindness,” which is what we need to get through this together.

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone who might benefit from it.

We appreciate you trusting us with your care, and it is a responsibility we take very seriously.  We are here for you.

Stay safe,
Dr. Maura McLaughlin with Dr. Tim McLaughlin
Blue Ridge Family Practice
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