RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Virginia has been slow, but Governor Ralph Northam says it’s coming down to supply constraints.
“I want Virginians to be patient. I want them to know we’re going to get to everybody. We’re going to do it as quickly as we can,” Northam said.
The governor, along with Dr. Danny Avula and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, toured a mass vaccine clinic at Richmond Raceway. It’s for select people in phase 1b, including teachers and police officers.
“These people are our heroes and we need our heroes to be safe, as well to keep us all safe in the coming months,” Stoney said.
Gov. Northam is championing President Joe Biden’s move to invoke the Defense Production Act to speed up dose production and distribution of vaccines.
“As we move forward there’s going to be a supply issue. So we need to make sure as we open up more sites, like this one right here, and expand who is eligible to come in for their vaccination... we need to make sure we have the doses in Virginia,” Northam said.
Officials also believe the number of shots in arms is off by at least 90,000, maybe more, which Dr. Avlua explained could mean Virginia isn’t near the bottom of the pack in vaccination efforts.
“We’ve developed a manual solution to get some of those health departments caught up. We are still troubleshooting some of the data transport issues,” Dr. Avula said.
The Virginia Health Department is receiving about 110,000 vaccine doses each week. As we approach phase 1c and beyond, the health department is determined to host mass public vaccination clinics across the commonwealth. The Richmond Raceway, Arthur Ashe Center and Chesterfield Fairgrounds are potential locations.
“We’re saving lives here today and it is incredible to see it in action,” said Avula.
The goal is to be at 25,000 shots per day by February 14, and 50,000 by April 1 with plans to get all Virginians vaccinated by the end of the summer.
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