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Governor Ralph Northam announces next steps in vaccine rollout

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 6:23 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam held a press conference Wednesday to give an update on the coronavirus and plans for how they will continue the vaccination rollout in the state.

Northam first addressed the different strains of the coronavirus that are more contagious and then discussed all the factors involved in moving and manufacturing the vaccine. He went over how many doses the state has received so far and how many we will need.

“You have an important job to do. So I want to tell you what you need to do, when you need to do it, and how it all fits into the larger plan,” he said.

He says there are 8.5 million people in Virginia, and everyone needs two doses for the vaccine to be effective, totaling 17 million shots needed to vaccinate everyone. He adds that right now the state is receiving about 110,000 doses each week, and the short-term goal is to receive 25,000 shots per day.

And Northam says all the doses already received need to be used. The next rounds administered after first responders will be to essential workers. Northam said they are going to be faster in distributing vaccines now that they have the numbers.

Healthcare providers were first in line, but now Northam is telling them to “use it or lose it” and give out shots until they’re gone. In the next shipment, vaccines will be allocated to more places.

“But they’re not high on the list just because we like them. They’re high on the list of essential workers because teachers are critical to getting schools back open, and that’s critical to people getting back to work and literally getting back to normal,” he said.

There are many different groups of essential workers included in the next round of doses, however, teachers and child care workers are the largest group at 285,000 among the 1.2 million people in group 1B. Group 1A has 5,000 people, and group 1C, which includes transit workers and food industry workers, has 2.5 million people.

Northam says it will take well into the springtime to get everyone in group one the two shots that are required.

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