Virginia has administered 50K+ COVID-19 vaccine doses so far
State health official says actual number likely higher
Having received 285,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses from two manufacturers, Virginia has distributed more than 54,000 doses in the past two weeks.
Nationally, there’s been frustration with the vaccine rollout, which has been slower than expected. The Trump administration had pledged that 20 million doses of the vaccine would be administered across the country by the end of the year. As of early Dec. 30, only 11 million doses had been shipped and less than three million had been reportedly administered. Virginia was expecting to receive a total of 370,000 doses before the end of the year.
Asked about Virginia’s efforts during a press briefing Wednesday, Christy Gray, the Virginia Department of Health’s immunization division director, said that there was likely a lag in the commonwealth’s reporting of its administered doses due to logistical issues, and that VDH had been working with health care providers to troubleshoot issues around the new program.
“We do expect that the number of doses administered is actually higher,” she said. “47,000 doses in two weeks is not a small number, and we are proud of our Virginia providers for accomplishing that.”
Gray also fielded questions about Virginia receiving fewer vaccine doses than originally promised. Initially, VDH had been told it would receive 480,000 doses by the year’s end; the number was later changed to 370,000. “The number did decrease [by] approximately 100,000 doses, so we have had to update our strategy,” she said.
Presently, Virginia is in what VDH calls “Phase 1a” of the vaccine rollout, during which only health care workers, employees who work in similar settings and residents of long-term care facilities will be receiving the vaccine. Gray said that long-term care facilities will begin receiving vaccinations in the coming weeks. The recommendations for the criteria for Phase 1b and Phase 1c are currently being finalized. Phase 2 will be comprised of the general public. Gray said no timeline could be provided for the other phases of vaccinations.
Last week, Virginia established a vaccine dashboard, allowing the public to see how many vaccine doses have been administered so far. The two vaccines approved in the United States so far are manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna; both require two rounds of vaccine doses.
Gray said that those who received vaccinations would be entered into Virginia’s free statewide vaccine database, which would help ensure that Virginians receive a correct and timely second dose, and serve as proof of vaccination.
In spite of skepticism about the speedy production of the coronavirus vaccines, Gray said all scientific protocols had been upheld, and that the vaccines had been approved “without corners being cut.”
“We have not heard any serious adverse effects in Virginia with either of these vaccines,” she said.