Inova to open large-scale vaccine distribution center at Victory Center

Inova to open large-scale vaccine distribution center at Victory Center
The Inova Stonebridge Vaccination Center. Photo/Cody Mello-Klein

Inova Health System announced at a press briefing on Tuesday that it plans to open a new large-scale COVID-19 vaccine distribution center at 5001 Eisenhower Ave., the location of the long-vacant Victory Center site.

The new Inova Stonebridge Vaccination Center, which opens at the end of March, will have capacity to vaccinate 6,000 Northern Virginia residents per day, with potential to expand to 12,000 per day, according to Dr. J. Stephen Jones, president and CEO of Inova Health System.

“This new vaccination center … will be a regional asset available to individuals across the region so long as the vaccine is available and distributed,” Jones said.

The Stonebridge Vaccination Center is spread across 64 vaccination stations, 30 pharmacy preparation tables and a waiting with space for 400 patients, which occupy the entirety of the first floor of the Victory Center. The area also has on-site capacity to store 400,000 doses of the vaccine.

Inova has already vaccinated more than 200,000 people across the region since opening its other vaccine distribution center at the Inova Center for Personalized Health in Fairfax. Inova has been able to administer 3,000 vaccine doses per day at the site since Dec. 15.

The new site gives Inova more space and capacity while also providing the community greater access through the site’s proximity to a Metrobus stop and Metrorail station, according to Jones. The ICPH site has about 35 vaccination stations and waiting room capacity for about 120 patients.

In partnership with the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County, the new vaccine distribution center rep-resents a regional approach to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, Jeff McKay, chair of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, said.

“We look at the entire Northern Virginia region as a cohesive, important neighborhood,” McKay said. “It’s more important than ever for our local governments to be working hand in hand with each other to protect our residents.”

For the moment, Jones acknowledged vaccine supply remains the biggest challenge to vaccination efforts nationwide. However, he said the Virginia Department of Health has stated that the supply of vaccines will increase in the weeks and months to come.

“There will become a point where we have enough for everyone. There will come a point where we don’t need a center like this,” Jones said. “I wish it was next week; it’s probably going to be a few months.”

“The importance of this center is, knowing ahead of time that that’s about to happen, we want to make sure we have the infrastructure in place to take advantage of every single one of those doses,” McKay added.

Mayor Justin Wilson said he hopes the new Victory Center site will bring some measure of hope to residents across the region.

“For one of the first times in the last year there is palpable hope, there is palpable excitement,” Wilson said.

“We can feel that we are turning a corner. We have mass vaccinations across this region and folks finally understand that the beginning of the end is here.”