RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — For months, the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine outweighed the supply in Virginia. However, health officials now say that as supply speeds up, the Commonwealth is seeing a decline in people seeking out doses.
“Demand in much of the state is starting to slow down. We are trying a lot of things to see, is that lack of demand actually people that don’t want to get vaccinated? Or, is it that we need to use different strategies to get to them?” Dr. Danny Avula said.
Dr. Avula believes vaccine hesitancy could be a factor in the decline, especially after the recent pause of the Johnson and Johnson shot. From April 5 through April 12, Virginia’s allotment of J&J dropped by nearly 100,000 doses.
However, despite this decline, state health leaders are still pushing for people to roll up their sleeves for either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The goal is to reach herd immunity which would require 75-80 percent of the population to be vaccinated.
“Doing more community-based, small-scaled, neighborhood-based vaccinations. Mobile vans to go into communities, working with trusted leaders whether that’s faith communities, NAACP, neighborhood associations. There are lots of success stories, and know we’ll need to do more of that,” Dr. Avula said.
According to Dr. Avula, this drop in demand will not prevent from moving into Phase 2 on Sunday, April 18.
Under Phase 2, Virginians over the age of 16 would be eligible for the vaccine.