Gov. Northam provides update on Virginia’s vaccination efforts; COVID-19 restrictions extended through February

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/WFXR) — Gov. Ralph Northam gave an update on Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout during Wednesday afternoon’s news conference.

Northam also gave an update on safety measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as capacity limits in restaurants. While they were set to expire this week, he said he would extend the current restrictions through the end of February.

According to CDC data, Virginia has administered 594,828 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine which is a little more than half of the vaccines distributed to the state.

Northam said he has spoken with the White House twice in the past week. He heard states were dealing with same issues as in Virginia, such as not having enough supply and dealing with distribution issues.

According to Northam, the White House told them two pieces of good news: that states would receive 16% more vaccines starting effective immediately ,and they would lock in on this supply. He said a federal official said they can guarantee this because drug manufacturers have started producing a steady supply of the vaccine.

Northam said Virginia has reached his goal of administering 25,000 shots a day and is now giving more than 26,000 shots a day. However, officials now want to accelerate that goal to 50,000 shots a day.

Representatives from Walgreens and CVS said they would help Virginia reach its vaccination goals by administering vaccine to assisted living and long term care facilities. Both pharmacies said they were on target to meet their goal of getting through these facilities before the end of February.

“These pharmacies are doing very important work, reaching people who are most at risk,” Northam said.

The governor said healthcare workers were included in the first round of eligibility for vaccines, and that there is “no excuse for first doses to be sitting around.” Northam’s team has been working to shift excess inventory around to increase the number of shots given by 20 percent this week.

The governor’s office previously announced that Virginia has administered just 50 percent of the vaccine distributed to the state due to a few different factors:

  • Data entry issues undercounting the state’s progress
  • Allocation to the federal partnership responsible for vaccinating long-term care facilities
  • Providers who are continuing to save shots for future use

Northam also said the VDH is giving new gridlines on how to allocate the limited amount of supply of vaccines to those who are eligible to take them.

According to Northam, about half of available coronavirus vaccines should be given to people 65-years-old and up. The other half should be given to frontline workers; people 16 to 64-years-old who are high risk; and people in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps.

(Photo: Courtesy WRIC)

To make distribution easier for Virginians, the governor said he has directed the VDH to create a statewide vaccine registration system where people can sign up. Currently, it is being done at a local level.

“I know this has been a source of great frustration for a lot of Virginians,” Northam said

He added the Commonwealth hadn’t anticipated needing the centralized system yet, but it would be up and running soon.

While Northam said he knows everyone is running out of patience, he asked Virginians to let those most vulnerable get vaccinated fist, as well as to continue to wash their hands and follow social distancing guidelines.

You can watch Northam’s full briefing below:


RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR/WAVY) — Gov. Ralph Northam is set to hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon to provide an update on Virginia’s coronavirus vaccine rollout.

The governor’s administration has faced heavy criticism for the sluggish rollout of the vaccine. Press secretary Alena Yarmosky told WFXR’s sister station on Tuesday, Jan. 26 they attribute the difficulties to three factors:

  1. Data entry issues
  2. Allocation to the federal partnership responsible for vaccinating long-term care facilities
  3. Some providers who are continuing to save shots for future use

Yarmosky said Virginia is close to meeting Northam’s goal of 25,000 shots per day, which is more than twice as many as were being administered two weeks ago.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVID-19 vaccine dashboard shows an average of 24,790 doses a day as of Tuesday.

In addition, as of Wednesday, Jan. 27, the VDH reported 5,772 new COVID-19 cases, 126 new virus-related hospitalizations, and 54 new virus-related deaths around the Commonwealth.

During Wednesday’s briefing, the governor is expected to outline steps his administration is taking to improve the vaccine distribution efforts.

You can watch Northam’s news conference live at 2 p.m. on Wednesday on air at WFXR-TV, here at WFXRtv.com, on the WFXR News Facebook page, or on the WFXR News app.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, President Joe Biden ordered 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses, 100 million each from both Pfizer and Moderna.

Biden said the move will increase the total vaccine order in the United States by “50%, from 400 million ordered to 600 million ordered.” He claimed it would be enough doses to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans against the coronavirus.

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