More than 100 private health care providers in Fairfax County are currently going through the steps to be able to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the public soon, county officials tell Reston Now and Tysons Reporter.
This includes private practices, clinics, and urgent care centers.
The county announced late last week that “a small number of private health care providers” would begin offering vaccinations to their patients in the coming weeks.
“The process to become approved to administer COVID-19 vaccine requires several steps,” a county health department spokesperson said. “That starts with filing an intent form with [the Virginia Department of Health], completing a CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Agreement and completing the Fairfax County Health Department’s compliance check.”
Of those 100-plus private health care providers, approximately 35 are in the process of completing the Fairfax County Health Department’s compliance check. The timeline for completion differs for each provider, the spokesperson notes.
A “handful” of private providers have completed all of the steps and can now offer the COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. Health department officials declined to provide an exact number or the names of the providers.
Providers won’t be able to choose a specific COVID-19 vaccine to offer to their patients, since vaccine availability is dependent on what the county receives from the Commonwealth.
“We know many residents in our community will be excited to hear that their own health care providers may soon offer vaccine,” Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu wrote in the health department’s blog post. “However, we do encourage residents to be patient while more practices meet the state requirements. Once a provider is able to offer vaccine, they will notify their patients directly.”
The county is also asking residents who have registered with the county health department to remove themselves from the waitlist if they do receive the vaccine from a private provider instead.
In recent weeks, Fairfax County has begun to diversify where residents are able to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
This includes retail pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, Safeway, and Harris Teeter. Giant is directly partnering with the county to vaccinate off the health department’s waitlist. However, appointments still remain scarce at the retail pharmacies.
In general, vaccinations in the county are moving at a faster pace than last month.
But the county is still struggling to catch up to demand after being the only jurisdiction to opt out of Virginia’s appointment system. As of 3 p.m. today, 104,000 people were on the waitlist of the 326,000 people who had registered.
So far, the county has administered close to 267,000 doses, about half of them delivered by the health department. 207,499 county residents have gotten at least one dose, and 117,678 people have been fully vaccinated, according to the VDH dashboard.
Appointments are currently being scheduled for those who signed up on January 28 or earlier.
Photo by Karen Bolt/Fairfax County Public Schools