Virginia falling behind on COVID-19 vaccinations

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/WFXR) — Compared to other states, Virginia is lagging behind when it comes to getting coronavirus shots into arms.

As of Monday, Jan. 18, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) says 943,400 vaccine doses have been distributed, but only 324,965 — roughly 34.4 percent — have been administered. That percentage falls in the bottom five of all states.

This slow rollout comes as health officials push to speed up the process.

Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam widened vaccine eligibility to people 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions.

He also set an ambitious goal to vaccinate 50,000 Virginians per day. As of Monday, though, the VDH says the Commonwealth is averaging 16,432 doses per day.

Over the next two weeks, the federal government will consider the rate at which states are administering vaccines to determine the next allotment of doses. This could prove to be challenging for Virginia as health officials now report vaccine demand is now surpassing the supply.

“Last week, we had 300,000 dose requests by hospitals, health departments, private providers and pharmacies,” said Dr. Danny Avula, who is leading the state’s vaccine rollout. “But we could only meet 105,000 of those”

Dr. Avula is urging Virginians who qualify for phase 1a and 1b but are not at high risk to hold off on getting the vaccine.

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