Virginia Department of Health gives update on COVID-19 vaccine response efforts

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Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 11:36 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - In a press conference Saturday, the Virginia Department of Health announced that COVID-19 vaccines are continuing to roll out at a steady pace across state.

There is currently an average of 14,040 doses administered each day to Virginians over the past seven days.

The state followed federal recommendations to expand eligibility of Phase 1B to include people 65 and older, as well as people with underlying conditions.

Most of the Commonwealth is expected to be in phase 1B by next week.

Dr. Danny TK Avula, VDH Vaccine Coordinator, said Virginia has been receiving between 100,000 and 110,000 doses of the vaccine a week, but in the past week, they had requests for more than 300,000 doses.

Dr. Avula added that the state has heard mixed-messaging from the federal government about whether allocations of vaccines would be increasing. Despite increasing the number of people eligible to get the vaccine, the state may not see an increase in the number of vaccine doses it gets each week.

“Once we use up current supply, we’re going to have to live within that weekly allocation. So, that will bring some frustration because we are encouraging health systems... To build, build, build, to use up everything we have in a way that’s consistent with our phasing model, but also with knowledge that when we use that up, there’s not going to be an increase in supply, likely until March,” Dr. Daniel Carey, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, said.

So far, Virginia has received a total of 943,400 vaccine doses, and 295,202 total doses have been administered.

Many people are wondering why there is such a big gap between what Virginia has been given and what’s been administered to the public.

“There’s a large number of doses that actually have been given, they’ve actually been administered to vulnerable populations, but that data has not been entered,” Dr. Avula said.

He added that a couple hundred thousand doses that are with providers, health systems and health departments that are building up the capacity to provide the vaccine.

But moving forward and getting more vaccines to the Commonwealth will be dependent on having clear, accurate data, according to Dr. Avula. He said they are working on getting health care providers caught up on the data entry.

Dr. Avula said the vaccines they are getting, are being sent out to providers as soon as possible and that none are being held back.

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