State scrambles to add additional vaccinators
Virginia is making several efforts to increase the number of people who can administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
Gov. Ralph Northam’s office discussed them in a press release last week.
The governor recently signed House Bill 2333 and Senate Bill 1445, which expand the pool of health care providers eligible to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Last month, the governor issued an amended executive order to provide additional flexibility to health care providers in supporting the vaccination program and ongoing COVID-19 response.
Virginia is administering an average of nearly 67,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine each day and has given more than 3.8 million shots to date, Northam noted.
Health care providers who are now authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in Virginia include but are not limited to dentists, dental hygienists, veterinarians, optometrists and health professions students enrolled in an accredited Virginia program. Eligible providers may serve as vaccinators if they have the appropriate training and meet the supervision requirements. All COVID-19 vaccine providers are responsible for ensuring that individuals who administer shots at their site are authorized by law to do so.
Eligible health care providers may register to volunteer as a COVID-19 vaccinator through either the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) or the newly-established Virginia Volunteer Vaccinator Registry (VVVR).
MRC volunteer vaccinators are required to complete a background investigation, volunteer orientation, vaccination-specific training as outlined by the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a skills assessment to demonstrate competency in administering the COVID-19 vaccine. MRC medical volunteers may have the opportunity to serve in other positions and response missions.
The VVVR is a temporary program administered by VDH and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management that serves as a pathway for eligible providers who only wish to serve as vaccinators during the COVID-19 response. Qualified registry volunteers are required to complete vaccination-specific training as outlined by the CDC and VDH and demonstrate competency in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.
Registering through either pathway is not a guarantee that an eligible health care provider will be enlisted to vaccinate, and volunteers may not be deployed immediately. While most Virginia localities are meeting the current need for COVID- 19 vaccinators through existing workforce channels, demand is expected to increase alongside the commonwealth’s growing supply of federally allocated vaccines.
For more information or to sign up as an MRC or VVVR volunteer, visit vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-community-vaccinator.
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