HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – One senior citizen after another lined up for the shot they’ve been desperately waiting for.
“I’m just very happy and thankful to Riverside and all the doctors here,” said one senior.
Riverside’s primary care patients aged 75 and older got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Saturday at a clinic in Williamsburg.
“I think it’s important for all of us to take care of each other and getting the vaccine is one way to do that,” said another senior after getting vaccinated.
As the major health system moves forward with administering shots in as many arms as possible, it’s left with one major question, where are the doses?
“Within the in next seven days unless we have additional supply, we will exhaust our current amounts,” said Riverside Health System President & COO Dr. Mike Dacey.
Dr. Dacey said after ordering 10,000 doses of the vaccine last week, a total of only 975 shots arrived.
“That is the lowest allotment we’ve received,” he said.
In a matter of days, Riverside Health System’s supply could run out, leaving freezers and the hopes of so many empty.
“Our goal is to try and get as many people vaccinated as possible, because the number of cases, they’re spreading tremendously,” said Dr. Dacey. “We have the capability. We just need the doses.”
Riverside is looking to ramp up vaccination efforts to 10,000 shots a week across its more than 30 providers. This comes after the governor expanded access to more priority groups that now include folks 65 and older.
Dr. Dacey, however, worries the state is holding back on extra doses for mega vaccination sites.
“The health department is planning on setting up these large-scale clinics…but that’s going to be weeks before they have those things stood up. We shouldn’t lose weeks,” Dacey said. “Over the next three or four weeks while they’re getting organized in terms of these large-scale clinics, places like Riverside could be giving thousands and thousands of doses.”
The state’s COVID-19 vaccination coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said that’s not the case.
“I just want to be clear that this is not happening at all,” he told News 3.
According to Dr. Avula, the Virginia Department of Health distributes all of its vaccine and doesn’t hold back a single dose.
“We distribute 100 percent of the vaccine we receive each week," he said.
Until more vaccines come in, Riverside said it would do its best to notify a patient.
“This hopefully is going to change, will allow us to get our world back to normal,” said a Riverside primary care physician.
Meantime, Riverside recommends patients download MyChart on its website, so they know when it might be their turn to make a vaccination appointment.