Virginia set to receive fewer COVID-19 vaccine vials than first expected

State says feds won’t give a reason why

Virginia set to receive fewer COVID-19 vaccine vials than first expected

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Late Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health says Operation Warp Speed officials informed them the state is getting fewer doses of COVID-19 vaccine than first thought, by almost 110,000 vials.

Virginia was expecting 480,000 vaccine doses by the end of December. State health officials say it’s a bump in the road, but not a major setback for Virginia.

“Adjustments like this in an operation of this scale should be, are expected and not unusual. It’s definitely disappointing but we’ve got a lot of work to do with the doses we have,” said Dr. Laurie Forlano, VDH Deputy Commissioner for Population Health.

State officials said they weren’t given a reason for the decrease by the federal government, but the health department notes it’s still giving out the first shipment of vaccine.

The issue does not affect the second dose required. The state says the manufacturers reserve a vial for each shipped to ensure a timely second dose for those receiving the vaccine.

Friday, the Virginia Health Department said it preordered 146,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Shipments could be here as early as next week. VCU said it expects to receive about 3,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine for VCU Medical Center before the end of the month.

“Work is still going on and our immunization team and our immunization director is in almost constant communication with CDC and federal partners,” said Dr. Forlano.

This week, Pfizer shipped more than 72,000 vaccine doses to the commonwealth. In Virginia, the vaccine is going to health care workers in COVID-19 units first.

“This is a very fluid and evolving process and everyone’s working at the absolute fastest pace they can both on the federal level and state level,” said Julian Walker, Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association.

While Virginia still has hospital beds open for patients, another issue is brewing which is not enough hospital staff. The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association says COVID-19 exposures lead to more workers off the floor in isolation and fewer hands to help the sick.

“It’s really about having adequate staff who are capable of responding to all the patient treatment needs,” said Walker.

We should also see vaccine shipments to pharmacies next week across Virginia. That’s to start the process for vaccinating nursing home residents and workers.

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