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Governor allocates CARES money to vaccination plan

Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced $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 such vaccines are approved for public use.

Virginia’s draft vaccination plan was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month.

Several companies are working to create COVID-19 vaccines, which are expected to be finalized and approved for distribution in the coming months. A mass vaccination program such as this requires significant advance planning for purchases of equipment, support for local health districts, staff to manage the program, warehousing medical supplies, and communicating with the public.

“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.”

The $22 million allocation of CARES Act dollars will support the Virginia Department of Health’s vaccination preparation and planning through the end of 2020. The commonwealth will identify additional sources of funding to continue to support the vaccination program in 2021. The Virginia Department of Health’s estimates the vaccination program will cost approximately $120 million.