PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The state of Virginia has been spending the last few months figuring out how to quickly distribute a coronavirus vaccine to millions of people.
The Roanoke Times reported Thursday that an incident command center has been working since June to lay the groundwork for stockpiling necessary supplies and communicating with the public.
Dr. Norman Oliver, Virginia’s health commissioner, told the state’s Board of Health during its quarterly meeting that it will likely be late winter before a vaccine is ready. But he said the state will be attempting to vaccinate in a huge number of people in a very short time.
He added that the politicization of the coronavirus pandemic will present a huge challenge.
“Hopefully we will get a vaccine that has gone through Phase 3 trials and has been shown to be safe and effective. We can really go out there, and convince people to go out and get it,” Oliver said.
An advisory work group is being assembled to ready the state to distribute the vaccine. The health department is asking for $10 million in CARES Act funding to purchase supplies and launch a communication campaign. Costs are expected to be more than $120 million.