The inauguration of a new president is the story that has dominated headlines this past week. Top of mind for much of the country are questions surrounding what will be different under this new administration. The Daily Yonder has worked with some rural health community leaders to better understand what they expect and hope to see under President Biden. Click the link below to read what they had to say.
With all of the buzz around the approval of the vaccines for COVID-19 from Moderna and Pfizer, the next question naturally how to get the vaccine to those that are most susceptible to the virus. As it stands currently, the federal government will lean on pharmacies to help distribute vaccines as soon as they become available, however a new study shows that nearly a third of rural counties in the US do not have a pharmacy that is connected to a network that can participate in the federal COVID-19 vaccination program. This study, done by the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy and Analysis states that 750 of the nearly 2000 nonmetropolitan countries do not have a pharmacy listed in the HHS vaccine distribution partnership. The populations of these counties account for nearly 13% of the total rural population, which is nearly 5.6 million people. Currently there is not a fix to mitigate this challenge.
Governor Ralph Northam laid out the state’s three-phased plan for the distribution of the coronavirus vaccines. After months of news limited to tales of the tragedy this virus is causing for the country, this plan comes as good news. There are two companies preparing to roll out their vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, both of which say their vaccine is 95% effective. In the first phase of the distribution plan, Virginia will receive 70,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and will distribute them to health care workers on the front lines of fighting this virus and residents of long-term care facilities. A more detailed plan of who will get vaccines first will be created by the Virginia Hospitals and Health Association and the Virginia Disaster Medical Advisory Committee.