At a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam announced that more than 525, 000 COVID-19 vaccine shots have been given so far in Virginia. While addressing questions concerning the COVID-19 vaccine, he focused on the changes to supply and logistics, and the need for more transparency.
Governor Northam announced that due to increased stability in supply and other factors, the federal government has increased the number of doses sent to every state by 16% allowing Virginia to increase their goal to 50,000 shots per day. Virginia is partnering with CVS and Walgreens to quickly administer vaccines to vulnerable members of the population that are older and in long-term care.
Virginia has changed the process it uses to allocate vaccines to providers of the vaccination and who in the population is prioritized to receive the vaccine.
“Virginia is now allocating shots to communities based on population. The federal government allocated them to states that way, and that makes sense. At the beginning, only healthcare workers were eligible. Now, regular Virginians are eligible so the shots need to go directly to them,” said Governor Northam.
The Virginia Department of Health has issued new guidance to local health districts responsible for administering the vaccine:
- • Approximately 50% of the vaccines will go to adults aged 65 and older.
- • Approximately 50% will go to frontline essential workers in priority order, people aged 16-64 with high risk medical condition or disability, and other high risk communities.
After addressing logistics, Governor Northam presented the changes to the system and transparency. Virginia has updated and launched a Vaccine Dashboard to provide more information. The dashboard will show how many doses are coming into Virginia, where the doses have been delivered, and where the doses are sitting. Also the dashboard will include how many people have received their first shot, second shot, and the total population reached.
Governor Northam also announced that he is backing legislation that will make it a requirement to collect certain demographic information when administering the vaccine.
The Virginia Department of Health is creating a statewide registration system and increasing staff at the call center to be able to handle the call volume but both of these will be coming “soon”. Currently, if you are eligible and want to sign up to receive the vaccine, you must contact your local health district either by phone or on the website. Each local district has created a vaccine registration system.