Virginia health leaders say vaccine demand has peaked

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s top health leaders said demand for the COVID-19 vaccine has changed in the Commonwealth and a new strategy is needed if the state wants to reach herd immunity.

“We really saw demand peak and now we’re pivoting all over Virginia in a different direction to make sure people understand their options, that we make vaccinations as convenient as possible,” Dr. Danny Avula, the state’s vaccine coordinator said during a press call Friday. “The sense of urgency and desperation that so many Virginians had to get vaccinated, that has changed.”

As a result, Avula said the Virginia Department of Health will be distributing more doses to primary care doctors to try to reach those who didn’t look for an appointment.

The health agency will also push more doses to mobile clinics, community pop-ups and neighborhood centers.

“It wasn’t a high enough priority for [some people] to make an appointment and show up somewhere to wait in line, so we really need to understand convenience is a major factor for this segment of the population,” Avula said.

The change comes as almost everyone who pre-registered for the shot in Virginia has been invited to get one. As of Monday, 45 percent of Virginians have rolled up their sleeve for at least one dose.

Avula said the CDC reports that the vaccine could be ready for children ages 12 and over sometime later this month.

On April 9, vaccine maker Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration to expand the emergency approval for their vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. The FDA said they will grant this emergency authorization to Pfizer and a decision could come as early as this week.

Over the weekend, the federal government also launched a new text messaging service to make the search for a COVID-19 vaccine easier.

Americans can now text their ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish to immediately get addresses of nearby vaccination centers.

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