COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Virginia, as Gov. Northam announces new restrictions

COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Virginia, as Gov. Northam announces new restrictions
Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) at a coronavirus press briefing. (Photo/Jack Mayer/Office of the Governor)

By Times staff

The first allotment of a vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older is now arriving in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) announced on Monday.

The vaccine is administered in two doses, three weeks apart. The initial limited supply of vaccine will be prioritized for health care workers that may encounter people sick with COVID-19, according to the Alexandria Health Department.

More details about the availability of vaccines for health care providers in Alexandria will be known within the next week or two. Prioritization of groups and additional vaccine information is available on the city’s website.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the vaccine on Dec. 11, and on Dec. 13, after an evidence-based review of all available data, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued an interim recommendation for use. Vaccines from other manufacturers are expected to be reviewed by regulators in the coming weeks and months.

In response to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, Northam announced increased COVID-19 restrictions, including a nightly curfew, that took effect on Monday. The curfew extends from midnight to 5 a.m. It restricts all travel except that which is deemed essential, which includes traveling to the grocery store, to and from work or to get medical attention, according to the governor’s office.

The new measures also expand the governor’s mask mandate to include indoor settings, something Alexandria’s own mask mandate already included, and limit social gatherings from 25 to 10 people.