Severe weather delays coronavirus vaccine distribution in Virginia

About 106,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine were delayed this week into next week

Over 100,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine didn't arrive in Virginia this week as planned due to the winter storm.

RICHMOND, Va. – The arrival of more than 100,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines in Virginia was delayed this week thanks to severe winter weather across the country, and officials are urging residents to check the status of their appointments.

About 106,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine were delayed, according to state vaccine officials.

Despite the weather and delays, a second-dose clinic hosted by the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District saw 98% participation.

“The federal government is trying to accelerate shipment,” commented Virginia vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula. “It should be happening through the weekend. I think the Pfizer should be caught up by Monday. Moderna’s backlog should be caught up by Tuesday, but no later than Wednesday. Then, Wednesday-Friday they’ll start shipping the non-backlog orders.”

The state is also seeing an increase in the weekly supply of doses.

“After so many months of bad news, I think people are understandably happy to embrace the good news and that is that our case counts are going down and that a vaccine is flowing,” said Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow.

Thursday, VDH announced a Southwest Virginia resident tested positive with the South African variant of coronavirus.

“The particular variant that popped up in Southwest Virginia [Thursday] is clearly associated with international travel,” said Dr. Avula.

When questioned whether variants could possibly outpace vaccine rollout, Dr. Avula said that is not a “specific concern just yet.”

In all 50 states, COVID cases have decreased in the last 30 days – some seeing a drop of more than 50%.

Other good news, Walgreens will start sending doses of the coronavirus vaccine to Virginia locations next week, the pharmacy chain said Friday.

Beginning Thursday, Feb. 25, it will receive 480,000 vaccine doses per week from the federal government, officials said in a news release.

The pharmacy chain is one of several companies in Virginia that will begin getting supplies through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

Though Walgreens’ share of doses for Virginia isn’t yet known, Dr. Avula, said those pharmacies altogether will receive a total of 26,000 doses per week to match the 26,000 CVS is already getting through the federal program. The doses will come from Pfizer.

You can find more information when available here.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.