News Alert: Inova cancels first-dose vaccinations, including for teachers

Second-dose appointments will be honored

Inova Health System has canceled first-dose vaccination appointments after Fairfax County learned it will receive less vaccine than expected from the state—a setback to efforts by FCPS to get all teachers vaccinated ahead of a proposed return to in-person learning next month.

The news follows a decision by state health officials to distribute vaccine doses to counties and cities based strictly on population rather than by the number of people eligible for the vaccine—a move that will hurt Fairfax County.

More than 5,000 of FCPS’s 25,000 full-time employees had received their first doses as of last week—and their second-dose appointments “will be honored,” Inova said in a statement. But all first-dose appointments will be canceled starting tomorrow.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Chairman Jeff McKay explained the situation in a message to the community Monday evening:

At the state level, unfortunately they have decided to change distribution to per capita, as opposed to the amounts counties and hospitals have ordered. This means the county will be receiving even less vaccine than we were previously and why, starting tomorrow, Inova will be cancelling all further first dose vaccine appointments. ...

It is profoundly unfortunate that despite all of our efforts at the local level that we must again ask for patience, which is frustrating for all of us. I hate to have to share this news, but I also want to be transparent about the situation we are in.

Inova added some additional context in a separate statement:

Last week, in response to a national shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Virginia Department of Health made a modification to their vaccine distribution methods and announced that going forward, vaccines will be sent directly to health districts to be allocated appropriately. As a result, Inova’s allocation of vaccine has been severely diminished, causing us to make the difficult decision to prioritize the available doses.

  • Due to these supply limitations, first dose appointments are cancelled as of January 26, 2021 for the foreseeable future.

  • Those who received a first dose from Inova and are scheduled for a second dose appointment with us will be prioritized at this time and their appointments will be honored.

We understand and share the frustration that this news brings to our patients. When we receive more supply inventory, we will first prioritize patients who had an appointment scheduled and then focus on opening further appointments up to eligible groups. If you are a patient whose appointment is cancelled, rest assured we are working diligently to identify new supply and will reach out to reschedule your appointment as soon as we are confident we have a vaccine for you.

Earlier this month, FCPS announced a partnership with Inova aimed at getting all teachers and staff vaccinated with their first doses over the course of three weeks.

Superintendent Scott Brabrand has proposed a phased return to in-person learning starting Feb. 16 with select special education and career training classes. Under the plan, all grade levels would return to in-person by March 16, though students would have the option to remain virtual.

The School Board is set to consider the proposal on Feb. 2.