Northam says state can expect increase in vaccine supply; COVID-19 restrictions extended

Updated: Jan. 27, 2021 at 6:38 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - On Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam did provide some answers about why the process has been so slow but is also laying out a new plan to get more vaccines to people.

“I feel the frustration out there. I, also as a medical provider, feel the urgency. We are doing everything we can to save lives. And at the end of the day, as the Governor of Virginia, I’m responsible. So the criticism is fair. And I also think the criticism is helpful,” said Northam, (D) Virginia.

Northam says the current COVID-19 restrictions and mitigation efforts that were supposed to expire at the end of the month will now be in place through the end of February.

The governor also said Virginia can expect a 16 percent increase in vaccine supply in the coming weeks. Federal officials told states to open up eligibility but there weren’t enough shots.

During a briefing, Northam said they are working on a new inventory management strategy to identify doses that may be held as the second dose and get them into arms as a first dose. There are about 300,000 doses being held right now as second doses. The governor wants to get 40,000 of them into arms as a first dose by Sunday.

“So all of those second doses are allocated. They’re reserved for somebody who should be getting a second dose, but they can’t actually be given until three or four weeks after the shot was administered and that’s what we’re dealing with right now,” said Dr. Danny Avula, who is leading the state’s vaccination efforts.

The administration is relying on a federal promise to increase supply access. So, Northam feels confident second doses will be there when needed.

Northam says all health districts should split vaccine shipments- half for those over the age of 65 and the rest for front line essential workers, as well as shelters and jails.

Northam said he wants to be more transparent with vaccination information. VDH will change its dashboard to include a breakdown of vaccine doses at the local health district level.

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