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CVS partnership ‘critical’ to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in Virginia

Vaccinations set to begin Feb. 11

CVS and the CDC have partnered to put more COVID-19 vaccines into arms.

VIRGINIA – Virginia’s getting more shots in arms thanks to a new federal partnership between the CDC and pharmacies across the country.

CVS plans to distribute 26,000 COVID-19 vaccines in the Commonwealth starting next week.

“They’re critical to expanding our capabilities,” said New River Valley Health District Director Dr. Noelle Bissell.

Bissell said that while supplies are low, every dose counts.

“It is important that we have as many sites available to administer vaccine as possible,” said Bissell.

Sites in Virginia include Roanoke, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Bedford and Blacksburg.

But a CVS spokesperson said the company doesn’t have a list of exact stores getting vaccines. They’re waiting on the doses to arrive, which is expected the week of February 9.

That day, people in Phase 1a or Phase 1b can sign up online at CVS.com.

CVS is expecting to get more doses from the federal government in the second and third week of the partnership and is hoping the program will get extended and they’ll get more vaccines after that.

Dr. Danny Avula, who’s leading the vaccination effort out of Richmond, said it’s an uphill climb.

“It will still be several weeks, if not several months before we’re really able to get through that 1b population,” said Avula, the director of the Richmond City and Henrico County Health Departments.

Although people are anxious to get the vaccine, Bissell begs people to not get on multiple waitlists because that could become a logistical nightmare.

At least 750 people in the NRV who were set to get a vaccine, got one elsewhere.

“That’s cost us about 400 additional hours that could not be used in scheduling people forward who don’t yet have an appointment,” said Bissell. “Keep that appointment and don’t seek a better choice or a better option that might be a week or two earlier. I’m asking that people be part of the solution and let us do the appointments as smoothly and efficiently as we can.”

CVS recommends that people start checking their website early next week because they expect appointments to fill up quickly.

Starting Feb. 9, people can start making appointments either online, on the CVS Pharmacy App or by calling CVS customer service at 1-800-746-7287.


About the Author:

Lindsey joined the WSLS 10 team as a reporter in February 2019 and is thrilled to call Roanoke her new home!