Richmond Times-Dispatch

Next steps on vaccine

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sites in six countries and 39 states, including the Virginia Research Center, at Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center in Chesterfie­ld County.

Holston estimates that the initial 50 million doses of the two-dose vaccine that Pfizer produces in the United States would include about 300,000 doses for Virginia, or enough for 150,000 people to be vaccinated against COVID19 with 21 days between shots.

The initial phase of vaccinatio­n likely would go to health care workers and emergency first responders at high risk of infection, including those employed in nursing homes and home health settings, under guidelines the National Academies of Science, Engineerin­g and Medicine issued last month.

The Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine also recommends a “vulnerabil­ity index” for distributi­ng the vaccine to population­s that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, such as Blacks and Hispanics, because of underlying health inequities.

“The report will likely inform the next step of priority population recommenda­tions” for receiving the vaccine, said Christy Gray, director of the Division of Immunizati­on at the Virginia Department of Health.

The process would begin with the expected completion of clinical trials of the mRNA-based vaccine later this month by Pfizer and BioNTech, followed by FDA review for emergency use. If approved by the FDA, the vaccine study data would be reviewed by the U.S.

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