Gov. Northam provides update on COVID-19 and vaccinations in Virginia

Governor Ralph Northam addressing the public at a May 11 COVID-19 briefing
Governor Ralph Northam addressing the public at a May 11 COVID-19 briefing(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 12:54 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) - Governor Ralph Northam held a press briefing Monday, September 27 at 1:00 p.m. to provide updates on Virginia’s response to COVID-19 and vaccination program.

Northam began by saying things are looking up in the state, but said more Virginians need to get vaccinated so hospitalizations will go down more.

He noted in his presentation that the cost of coronavirus-related hospitalizations are up to $5 billion, yet the vaccine is free.

“If you have chosen not to get a shot, there isn’t much I can say to change your mind,” Northam said.

Northam went on to share his own experience battling COVID-19 before vaccines were made available. He said to this day he has not regained his sense of taste and smell.

The governor also described in detail what it would be like to be on a ventilator and how he has seen that firsthand in hospitals.

“They put a tube just about the size of a garden hose down your throat to keep you alive,” he said.

Northam also addressed boosters for the Pfizer vaccine, saying people who got Pfizer and are immunocompromised, are 65-years-old or older or are frontline workers should consider getting the booster as recommended by the CDC.

He asked that parents who are anxious to vaccinate their younger children be patient until they are eligible, which is anticipated to happen later this fall. Once approved for emergency use authorization, Northam said Virginia would be ready to get shots in arms.

He invited school superintendents from Arlington, Roanoke and Richmond to speak on their plans for vaccine distribution and provide updates on COVID-19 mitigation measures.

The school leaders shared similar ideas of working closely with the health department in their area, opening vaccine clinics in school when the time comes and making on-site testing available for students and staff.

Of the children in the state who are eligible, 63% have been vaccinated. Northam said Alexandria and Arlington are seeing the highest rates in the 90s. On the other end of the spectrum, Highland County and Patrick County are seeing the lowest at 17% vaccination rates among the children who are qualified.

Northam added that state employees still have the option of showing proof of a negative COVID test as an alternative to proof of vaccination, but the latter is the best action to take.

“If you want to see this pandemic end, you want your kids in school... there is only one answer. Get vaccinated.”

You can watch the full briefing below.

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