Photo: Carilion Clniic

NEWS RELEASE: At 1 p.m. today, Carilion Clinic received its first shipment of 4,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The initial batch will support vaccinations of front-line healthcare workers with direct patient care responsibilities.

“The light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel is getting a little brighter,” said Chad Alvarez, Pharm. D., senior director of pharmacy and the leader of Carilion’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. “This is an exciting step forward in the fight against this pandemic.”

Front-line healthcare workers in Carilion’s emergency departments and COVID units will be the first to be vaccinated later this week. Officials expect to receive additional shipments in the coming weeks. Per CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidance, the general public should have more access to the vaccines in the spring and summer of 2021.

“In the meantime, it’s critical to remember that we all must double down on the precautions we are taking to protect ourselves and each other,” reminded Dr. Paul Skolnik, an infectious disease specialist and chair of the department of medicine at Carilion. “Keep washing your hands, wearing your masks, avoiding large gatherings and remaining distant from each other. Those actions and the COVID-19 vaccines will be what beat this pandemic.”

Details of vaccine shipments including the timing, exact destinations and storage locations will not be disclosed to ensure security.