Gov. Ralph Northam pushes to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in Virginia

‘I don’t know what else to say to people who selfishly choose not to get the shot,’ Northam said during Monday’s press conference

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tried to appeal to unvaccinated Virginians during his COVID-19 press conference on Monday.

RICHMOND, Va. – For a few weeks this summer, there was a lot of hope and optimism that the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic were behind us. Although, the delta variant proved itself more contagious and deadly as it infected and continues to infect thousands daily.

In Virginia, some early summer days yielded only a “handful” of cases, according to the Virginia Department of Health and Governor Ralph Northam, but eventually soared to upwards of 4,000 daily infections just a few weeks ago.

“After all of these months,” said Northam during Monday’s press conference. “I don’t know what else to say to people who selfishly choose not to get the shot.”

There is good news to report. Daily infections and hospitalizations are “leveling off,” but hospitals are still stretched to their limits.

Monday, the state reported more than 1,900 new cases.

“Nearly everyone who is getting COVID is unvaccinated,” said Northam. “The people who have followed the guidelines, who have made the effort to protect other people and themselves, who have gotten vaccinated – their patience is running thin.”

Three superintendents were invited to highlight how things are going in our schools. One of them was Roanoke City Public Schools Superintendent Verletta White.

She spent most of her time expressing gratitude for the hard work of local leaders and officials such as school nurses.

White also added the school system, “will soon have about 900 test kits so that our school nurses will be able to conduct onsite testing.”

Northam spent a lot of time on numbers. He says:

  • More than 80% of Virginia adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • More than 60% of state population is fully vaccinated
  • Virginia ranks 14th in the country for the most people vaccinated
  • More than 60% of state troopers are vaccinated

The governor also touched on specifics during his data breakdown.

He celebrated some areas with high vaccination rates among eligible students while encouraging those in other areas to get the shot.

Alexandria has the highest vaccination rate in the state for children 12-15 with 98.5%. Arlington is close behind with 92%. Meanwhile, places like Highland and Patrick Counties have around 17% of children in that age group vaccinated.

Click here for information to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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.