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VDH says COVID-19 vaccine distribution ‘...is slower than we would have liked’

Less than 20% of vaccines available have been administered

ROANOKE, Va. – The Virginia Department of Health gave an update Wednesday on the COVID-19 vaccine supply and distribution process in the Commonwealth.

“It is slower than we would have liked to, but we are getting better each day,” said Christy Gray, VDH’s immunization division director.

Gray said they expect to get about 370,000 total vaccines by the end of the year, which is around 100,000 less than originally planned for because of miscalculations by Operation Warp Speed.

“We had to scale down across,” said Gray. “So we have less doses to give to health care personnel.”

So far, they’ve distributed 285,725 vaccines. But only 54,295 doses have actually been administered.

Gray said staffing over the holidays and logistical considerations have slowed down how many vaccines have been given out. She also said there’s likely a lag in the data on the department’s online vaccine dashboard.

“Dealing with new systems and operations at this scale, it is expected to be slower at the beginning, but we are expecting to increase our efficiency over time,” said Gray.

A large number of doses are sitting at CVS and Walgreens, waiting to go to long term care facilities.

While visiting a long-term care facility on Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam said Virginia is off to a good start.

“Supply dependent, we would really like to see all Virginians have access to the vaccination by the summertime,” said Northam. “And then we can get our children back in school, get our businesses back up and running and get back to being as near normal as we can.”

Gray said the timeline is hard to predict.

“The actual amount of the vaccine received in Virginia is a moving target,” said Gray.

VDH is still finalizing its plan for giving vaccines to people in Phase 1b and 1c.

Since COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted people of color, health officials are tracking the race and ethnicity of those who get vaccinated. However, it is not required for anyone getting the vaccine to fill out that information.

VDH is also not keeping tabs on people who choose to not get a vaccine.


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