Va. vaccine doses will get ‘big bump’ next week
State expects to receive close to 213,000 doses per week starting Monday
Virginia’s vaccine coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, said Friday he expects about 213,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to come to the state weekly, beginning next week. That’s an increase of about 60,000 doses from the past week.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the federal government would up weekly national distribution from 11 million doses to about 13.5 million doses, and also double the number of weekly doses sent directly to pharmacies, from 1 million to 2 million. That works out to 161,000 weekly doses to health districts, hospitals and other facilities in Virginia, Avula said, and the number of doses going to pharmacies for Virginians age 65 and older will grow from 26,000 a week to 52,000 weekly.
Avula said he anticipates “an explosion of vaccine” available in Virginia toward the end of April and early May, after Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration around early March, and more vaccine doses are produced by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna.
In his weekly news update, Avula noted that “weather has been a big challenge,” particularly with Moderna’s vaccine, as key distribution points in the Midwest and Tennessee were affected by major ice storms. About 106,000 doses of Moderna vaccine that didn’t reach Virginia this week will arrive by next week, he said.
Currently 36 CVS pharmacies are administering shots, but starting next week, other pharmacies — among them Walgreens, grocery stores and local pharmacies — will receive doses. Avula said the Virginia Department of Health is working on logistics and will have more information about which locations will begin offering shots by next week. He also hopes that people who have preregistered with the health department’s statewide site or with their local health district will be added automatically to the other pharmacies’ lists and can be prioritized for vaccines.
CVS’s registration system could not import existing health department waiting lists before the pharmacies started administering shots last Friday, requiring people to register separately with CVS. Avula said the other pharmacies he’s been in contact with say they’re willing to work with VDH on prioritizing people who registered with the health department.
This week, VDH launched a statewide vaccine registration website for all Virginia residents who want a vaccine, as well as a phone hotline staffed by 750 employees from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Avula advised anyone who registered before this week with their local health district can call the hotline if their information does not show up on the website, vaccinate.virginia.gov. The number is (877) VAX-IN-VA, or (877) 829-4682.