Sen. Tim Kaine Discusses the $1.9T Relief Bill, His Lingering COVID Symptoms, Reflects on January 6th Capitol Breach

Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) appeared on the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) Patients Come First podcast on Sunday. Kaine explained two upcoming financial relief packages, provided an update on Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and explained his Medicare-X Choice Act.

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Minnesota Senate Unanimously Passes Bill Allowing Dentists to Distribute COVID Vaccines

In a 67-0 vote Monday, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation that will allow dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

SF 475 is a bill “amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 150A.055,” which gives dentists the ability to distribute influenza vaccines. The amendment broadens the original bill, extending to cover COVID-19 vaccinations, too. 

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Two New Dashboards Offer COVID Data for Virginia’s Colleges and Universities

Two new online dashboards have recently been launched to help provide awareness and track the spread of the coronavirus at Virginia’s colleges and universities as many institutions in the Commonwealth have already begun or are starting in-person classes soon.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) launched its COVID-19 Outbreaks in Virginia Higher Education dashboard roughly two weeks ago.

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Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors Blasts Virginia Vaccine Rollout

The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors (BOS) sent a scathing letter on Tuesday to Governor Ralph Northam criticizing the slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Virginia.

“Simply put, Virginia’s campaign to vaccinate the masses is totally defective. On this issue, we have run out of patience and tolerance. Our citizens deserve better,” the five supervisors wrote. “Virginia has far too many doses still not administered, and that’s not the fault of the federal government.”

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House Passes Legislation to Help Virginia Administer Vaccinations, Senate Version Waiting to be Heard

The Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday passed emergency legislation to speed up the state’s slow vaccination campaign by expanding which health care workers can administer shots to citizens and locations serving as inoculation sites.

House Bill 2333, introduced by Del. Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico), passed the House with bipartisan support from committee to a final floor vote in just one day, a process that normally takes multiple meetings of the body.

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Virginia Senators Push Bill to Help Speed Up State Vaccination Effort

A bill to help Virginia speed up its mass vaccination effort by expanding who is allowed to inoculate citizens and where those injections can occur is being pushed by a bipartisan group of state Senators.

Flanked by various medical professionals, Senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City), Todd Pillion (R-Washington), Jennifer Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach), George Barker (D-Fairfax) and Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) held a news conference to discuss Senate Bill 1445 in Richmond on Thursday.

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Virginia House Republicans Blast Slow COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

House of Delegate Republicans have repeatedly begun the regular sessions this week by blasting Virginia’s government for the slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

On Monday, GOP Caucus Chairman Delegate Kathy Byron (R-Bedford) said, “Madam Speaker, as we meet today, Virginia’s government is struggling in a critical life-saving mission. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Virginia has received over 850,000 doses of the COVID vaccine, but we have administered fewer than 250,000 doses. That performance ranks us among the lowest of the fifty states.”

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Virginia Governor Expands Eligibility for Phase 1b COVID-19 Vaccinations

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) has expanded the eligibility for Phase 1b of the state’s vaccination effort to include people 65 and up as well as those between the ages of 16 to 64 who have high-risk medical conditions, he announced during a COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday. 

“This means about half of Virginia is now eligible to receive the vaccine,” the governor said. “That’s a major logistical effort and it is not going to happen overnight. Everyone will need to be patient; it’s going to happen as fast as it can be done.” 

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VDH launches Online Tool to Help Determine Virginians’ Vaccine Eligibility

With mass vaccination efforts now a month in, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has released a new online tool to help Virginians determine their eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine under the state’s multi-phase plan and when they can get it.

Completing the process is relatively simple and should not take more than 5 minutes maximum. Here is a step-by-step rundown

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Virginia Department of Health: Vaccinations for Second Phase Group Starting Next Week

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) said Friday that 11 select health districts around the state will begin vaccinating the second phase of priority populations, group 1b, this week, according to a press release from the agency. 

VDH’s announcement comes two days after Governor Ralph Northam held his first COVID-19 press briefing of 2021, where he said the state would be faster at administering vaccines, implemented a “use it or lose it” policy for providers and released specifics on the people in group 1b. 

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Governor Northam Appoints Dr. Danny Avula to Lead Virginia’s Vaccination Program

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has appointed Dr. Danny Avula, director of the Richmond City and Henrico County health departments, to lead the Commonwealth’s ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program.

Northam made the announcement during a coronavirus press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, the first time he has provided updates on the virus to the public in the new year.

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Bill Allowing Religious Exemptions for COVID-19 Vaccines to be Considered Again by General Assembly

With multiple COVID-19 vaccines now being distributed and administered across the Commonwealth of Virginia, a Republican state Senator is looking to revisit the topic of religious exemptions to immunizations when the General Assembly convenes for its regular session in ten days.

Senator Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg) has introduced and pre-filed Senate Bill 1116, which would allow for a parent or guardian to object to the vaccination of a child on the grounds that immunization conflicts with their religious practices or tenets, even during an emergency declared by the state board of health.

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Vaccinations in Virginia Are Lagging Behind Distributed Doses

Coronavirus vaccination efforts by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) have been ongoing since December 15, but the number of administered doses is significantly less than the amount distributed throughout the Commonwealth.

According to the COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, as of Thursday, Virginia has distributed 388,100 doses, but only 64,882 have actually been administered so far.

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More Than 40,000 Virginians Have Received COVID-19 Vaccines So Far

Roughly 41,709 Virginians have received first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines so far, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), as the state continues its efforts to reach herd immunity and put an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the VDH launched the COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard, which will be updated daily to keep the public informed about the number of vaccines distributed and administered as well as the demographics of recipients.

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140,000 Doses of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Arrive in Virginia

Roughly 140,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Virginia on Wednesday after the state had initially placed an order with the company last week, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) said in a news release.

Shipments of Moderna’s vaccine, approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, as well as Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine are being delivered to healthcare facilities and health departments across the Commonwealth this week. The two vaccines are going to 96 “geographically diverse locations” in the state, according to the release.

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CVS Begins Effort to Administer COVID-19 Vaccinations

CVS announced Monday that it has formally launched its program to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents and staff of long-term care facilities and will begin its efforts in Virginia on December 28th, according to a press release. 

The company said that its teams will start administering doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week across 12 states – including Ohio, Connecticut, Florida and Oregon, among others – and expects to vaccinate a total of four million residents and staff at over 40,000 long-term care facilities through the program. 

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Virginia to Receive Over 100,000 Fewer COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Than Anticipated

Virginia is now expected to receive just under 110,000 fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses from the federal government than originally anticipated.

Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccination program, informed the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) late Thursday night, and now the state is preparing to get 370,650 vaccine doses by the end of December instead of the initial 480,000 projection, according to a press release.

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Virginia Hospitals Receive First Shipments of COVID-19 Vaccine

The coronavirus vaccine has finally arrived in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Several hospitals in Virginia received initial shipments of the newly approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week, kicking off the state’s months-long plan for mass vaccinations and finally signaling a potential end to the pandemic.

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Department of Health: Virginia to Receive 480,000 Vaccine Doses by End of December

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced on Friday that the Commonwealth is preparing to receive 480,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December based on new information from the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed.  

As Governor Ralph Northam noted during a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted last week to officially recommend healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents as top priority for vaccination.

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Virginia Could Receive Vaccine Doses by Mid-December, Northam Says

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said that initial doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could arrive in the state as early as mid-December.

During a coronavirus press briefing Wednesday afternoon, the governor shared details on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plans instead of implementing new statewide restrictions.

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Virginia Could Receive Vaccine Doses by Mid-December, Northam Says

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said that initial doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could arrive in the state as early as mid-December.

During a coronavirus press briefing Wednesday afternoon, the governor shared details on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plans instead of implementing new statewide restrictions.

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Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine 94.5 Percent Effective in Phase Three Study

Biotech company Moderna announced Monday that its new COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be 94.5 % effective.

The company said it intends to submit for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks and expects the EUA to be based on the final analysis of 151 cases and a median follow-up of more than two months.

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Trump Administration to Announce Medicare, Medicaid Will Cover Eventual COVID-19 Vaccine According to Report

The Trump administration is expected to announce that the eventual coronavirus vaccine will be covered by Medicare and Medicaid, Politico reported late Monday.

The administration is expected to change a rule that previously prevented Medicare and Medicaid from covering vaccines that received emergency use authorization from the FDA. The official announcement is expected from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Politico.

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AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson Resuming U.S. Tests of COVID-19 Vaccines

Two drugmakers announced Friday the resumption of U.S. testing of their COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Testing of AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate had been halted since early September, while Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine study was paused at the beginning of last week. Each company had a study volunteer develop a serious health issue, requiring a review of safety data.

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CVS to Hire 15,000 Employees in Preparation for Flu Season, COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

CVS Health announced that it would bring on approximately 15,000 additional workers in preparation for the upcoming flu season and an expected rise in coronavirus cases before the distribution of an eventual vaccine.

The hirings will take place before the year’s end, the company said Monday in a statement. Though most of the positions are temporary, many could transition into full-time positions, CVS said.

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VCU Poll: Four in Ten Virginians Not Likely to Get COVID-19 Vaccine – If They Want It

A new statewide poll released and conducted by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) offers a glimpse at the opinions of Virginians on two separate policy issues: COVID-19 vaccines and in-person education. 

The Survey of 804 adults, age 18 or older, living in Virginia was conducted between August 28 and September 7 using telephone interviews.

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NIH: Halted Vaccine Study Shows ‘No Compromises’ on Safety

The suspension of a huge COVID-19 vaccine study over an illness in a single participant shows there will be “no compromises” on safety in the race to develop the shot, the chief of the National Institutes of Health told Congress on Wednesday.
AstraZeneca has put on hold studies of its vaccine candidate in the U.S. and other countries while it investigates whether a British volunteer’s illness is a side effect or a coincidence.

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