Nearly 70 percent of Virginia adults receive one dose of COVID-19 vaccine; state mulls booster shot timeline

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Nearly 70% of Virginia adults have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, less than three weeks from President Biden’s goal to reach the milestone by July 4.

State Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula says the state has 59,000 or so adults left to vaccinate.

“So, if we average about 3,000 adults [daily] between now and July 4 we will hit that mark,” he said.

However, Avula says the decreased daily jabs could delay reaching the goal by seven to 10 days.

According to Avula, health officials will still need encourage apprehensive Virginians to get shots, as well as to monitor cases. That’s because, in part, boosters may soon be needed for those with initial doses like health care workers.

“There are two things we don’t know: one is how long the immunity from a vaccine actually lasts, and then secondly, ‘will there be variants that really aren’t treated by our existing vaccines?’” he said.

Avula said he is hopeful that a rise in infections, anticipated for the fall season, won’t have to prompt booster shoots, though, “that’s the reality.”

A strong arm of the Commonwealth’s population yet to be vaccinated is children under 12 years old. The FDA has not granted emergency authorization for this group, though Pfizer seeks the green light from the agency; which Avula expects to happen around October.

The timeline for approval may come during the initial months of the fall semester, as young Virginia students will still be required to wear masks in classrooms.

Avula said, “if we get to that predicted herd immunity, somewhere between 70 and 80 percent, and that happens at the same time that we are seeing really low rates of disease, I think that mask guideline will go away.”

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