Fairfax County expects all residents to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, board chair says

The Victory Center in Alexandria is being turned into a mass COVID-19 vaccination site to serve Fairfax County and Alexandria residents (Staff photo by Vernon Miles)

Every Fairfax County resident should be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment by May 1, but the timeline for when all those people will actually get the vaccine is less certain, according to a county official.

“We fully expect to meet the President’s deadline to open eligibility to every Fairfax County resident by May 1,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay wrote in a statement to Reston Now, Tysons Reporter’s affiliate site.

McKay credits the county’s growing supply of vaccine for giving it a chance to meet that ambitious target, which Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says can be achieved statewide.

“Since the beginning, we have had the capacity to vaccinate tens of thousands of people a day. However, our vaccine supply didn’t match that,” he said. “Now that supply is ramping up, we will double down on our priority of getting shots in arms as quickly as possible.”

The Fairfax County Health Department announced yesterday (March 17) that it is now letting additional groups register for vaccine appointments. The department stated that it plans to move into phase 1c by mid-April before expanding eligibility to the general population in phase 2 on May 1.

Phase 1c includes other essential workers like those in energy, water and waste removal, housing and construction, and food service.

Virginia’s vaccination coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, provided an even more optimistic timeline in an interview a week ago, saying that everyone who wants the vaccine should be able to get their first dose by May 31.

“We really think we will easily meet that May 1 marker and potentially even outpace it by a couple of weeks,” he said. “We’ll move into that open eligibility before the end of April and everybody who wants a vaccine should be able to be vaccinated by the end of May, at least with the first dose.”

McKay hesitated to commit to May 31 as an achievable deadline for everyone in Fairfax County to get at least one vaccine dose.

“We have no way to project that far out,” McKay told Reston Now. “But we’re certainly pushing for more doses, making tremendous progress, and working to meet to President’s charge to make everyone eligible by May 1.”

This week, the county is getting 43,000 vaccine doses from the state, an increase from last week’s 31,500 doses.

The pace of vaccinations is quickening in the county as private providers and retail pharmacies join the list of vaccine providers. A mass vaccination clinic run by Inova Health Systems is also expected to open by the end of the month.

Additionally, the county anticipates receiving doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the end of the month, furthering increasing supply.

In total, the county has received 290,853 doses from the Commonwealth and has administered at least one dose to 270,213 people, approximately 23.5% of the county’s population.

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