RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia hospital systems have been asked by the state to release their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine now.
Those doses were scheduled to be used over the next one to three weeks.
Dr. Danny Avula, the head of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts and the Governor's vaccine czar, said roughly 300,000 vaccine doses that remain to be used, are second doses.
Those second doses can't be used for one to three weeks if they're used as second doses, so the state is asking providers to use them now as first doses.
Governor Ralph Northam said hospital systems have "really stepped up."
“In a global pandemic, our mission to serve the public has never been more important. In our efforts to do just that, we misunderstood the request to provide as many vaccines doses as possible for public use. We were not asked to provide all our available doses," Dr. Arthur Kellermann, CEO of VCU Health System, said in a statement after VCU said it would delay the second dose of the vaccine to employees. "We are immediately making a change and will administer second doses as we originally planned to all those due to receive them. No second appointments will be cancelled.
"We will communicate quickly to those individuals to help fix this problem. We are pleased that we can do this and are delighted we can still provide vaccine to help meet community needs. We apologize to everyone who has been alarmed about a delay in receiving their second vaccine. Please be assured that we are 100 percent committed to making this right.”
This is a developing story.