Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine can protect against a mutation found in two highly contagious variants of the coronavirus that erupted in Britain and South Africa, new research show.
Those variants are causing global concern due to a slight mutation that causes the virus to spread more easily.
President-elect Joe Biden will release most available COVID-19 vaccine doses to increase the pace of inoculations, a reversal of the Trump administration policy, his office said Friday.
“The president-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible," spokesman T.J. Ducklo said in a statement.
Dr. Anthony Fauci will join Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a virtual town hall at 3 p.m. Friday to conduct a question and answer session about coronavirus vaccinations.
Fauquier County will join other Northern Virginia schools that are already playing sports even though, for now, school is still virtual.
The school board approved a plan to resume school athletics on Tuesday night.
Montgomery County is one of five counties Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says successfully distributed 80% of the vaccine the state sends it each week.
County Executive Marc Elrich says he has a "very aggressive plan" to get COVID-19 vaccines out the door and into the community.
On the other hand, some counties are lagging behind on vaccinations, Hogan says. Prince George's County is one of them.
"We need some help here," Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks fired back in a press conference Wednesday. "Not criticism. Send help."
The Governor is sending members of Maryland National guard to help. School nurses are also volunteering to help.
By Jan. 15, all 4,700 doses allocated to Frederick County Health Department will have been distributed to people identified as Group 1A in the Maryland vaccination plan, officials say.
All nursing home residents and staff in Frederick County and all health care workers at Frederick Health Hospital who chose to be vaccinated have already received their first dose or are in the process of scheduling their appointments, the statement said.
Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties have websites that can let you know if you’re in a priority group for vaccinations.
You can register for alerts to get updates on when where and how to get vaccinated.
Vaccination Portals by County
As vaccinations in our region ramp up, here's a look at local portals residents can use to sign up for vaccination appointments or sign up to receive alerts.
- Washington, D.C. signups– vaccinate.dc.gov
- Maryland signups – www.marylandvax.org/
- Virginia information – www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/
- Montgomery County – www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/
- Prince George's County – www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3730/COVID-19-Vaccination
- Howard County – www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Health/MM-Alerts-and-Recalls/COVID-19-Vaccine
- Anne Arundel County – aahealth.org/covid-19-vaccine-faq/
- Fairfax County – www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/vaccine
- City of Alexandria – www.alexandriava.gov/health/info/default.aspx?id=119270
- Loudoun County – www.loudoun.gov/covid19vaccine
- Prince William County – coronavirus.pwcgov.org/vaccine-information/ & VDH
To get a better idea of when you'll be eligible to receive a vaccine, use our tool below.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that those next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine – priority group 1B – would include teachers, people over the age of 75, mail carriers, corrections officers, police, firefighters, grocery store workers and transit workers.
Of those in phase 1B, the largest group on the list is the state’s 285,000 teachers and childcare workers.
Although he stressed the need to get students back in school, Northam said schools don't have to wait for teachers to be vaccinated. He also revealed that year-round school is being considered as a way to get students back on track.
In phase 1C, another 2.5 million Virginians who are considered frontline essential workers would be eligible for vaccinations. Workers in those categories include housing construction, food service and transportation and logistics workers.
Although there is no exact timeline in place, Northam is setting a goal of reaching 50,000 vaccinations per day and believes all Virginians could be vaccinated by this summer.
What the Data Shows
D.C. reported 357 new coronavirus cases and one additional death on Friday. Maryland had 3,732 new cases and 43 deaths. Virginia recorded 4,049 new confirmed infections and 35 deaths.
Virginia broke a new record for the largest increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in 24 hours.
As of Friday, seven-day averages in D.C., Maryland and Virginia were at 265, 2,770 and 3,446, respectively.
For the fourth consecutive day, a record number of hospitalizations were recorded in Virginia – 2,693 Virginians are currently hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Maryland reported Friday that 1,885 people were hospitalized. D.C. reported there were 271 hospitalized patients on Friday.
More than 277,000 people in D.C., Maryland and Virginia have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday, according to local health departments. Officials reported that 9,772 people in the region have been fully vaccinated with both doses.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- D.C. residents age 65 and older, teachers and several categories of essential workers will be able to make appointments this month to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, officials say.
- More than 1,400 long-term care facilities in Virginia are expected to receive doses of the coronavirus vaccine in the coming weeks.
- Two D.C. friends got a lucky break while in Giant Food in Washington, D.C.,: When someone didn't show up for their vaccination appointment, the pharmacist asked him and his friend if they wanted to get the Moderna shot.
- Virginia reported another record day for new coronavirus infections, and that surge is putting even more pressure on hospitals in the commonwealth already pushed to the brink.
- Among the industries hit hardest by the pandemic has been performance venues like theaters and nightclubs, but help is on the way after President Donald Trump signed the new relief bill.
- New figures from the Virginia Department of Corrections show that two inmates and one staff member who tested positive for the coronavirus have died in recent days.
- The high level of coronavirus cases is putting stress on Northern Virginia hospitals — and the health care professionals who work there.
- The stress of the pandemic is a grind. A data analysis from the American Dental Association shows a surge in cases of teeth grinding, clenching and cracking during the COVID-19 crisis. The increases are striking and potentially costly and painful for sufferers.
- A professor is using the trust Black Americans have in barbers to make them more comfortable with taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
- A rapid antigen test might seem like a great idea when you're in a hurry and don't have time to wait a few days for results, but those tests are really designed for people with COVID-19 symptoms and in asymptomatic patients can deliver false positive results.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced measures to boost the number of available health care workers and plan for more hospital beds.
- COVID-19 numbers continue to paint a dire picture for Black Americans, and there is an ongoing effort in the Black community to increase testing.
- A judge upheld Montgomery County, Maryland's ban on indoor dining.
- D.C. has suspended indoor dining until 5 a.m. on Jan. 15, Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a press release.
- Virginia instituted a curfew and a stricter mask mandate.
- Maryland tightened restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants.
- All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed because of rising COVID-19 cases.
- Hours before some Fairfax County students were set to return to in-person learning, the school district said that they needed to delay the plan.
- Courts throughout Maryland remain partially shut down due to the pandemic.
- Prince George's County tightened restrictions and required masks to be worn outdoors.
How to Stay Safe
Anyone can get COVID-19. Here are three simple ways the CDC says you can lower your risk:
- Wear a snug-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth.
- Avoid being indoors with people who are not members of your household. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. If you are indoors with people you don’t live with, stay at least six feet apart and keep your mask on.
- Wash your hands often, especially after you have been in a public place.
Correction (January 7, 2021; 11:45 p.m.): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Virginia ranks 41st in the U.S. This was based on a list that included U.S. territories. Virginia ranks 38th among all states and D.C.