NORFOLK, Va. - Gov. Northam addressed the state's vaccine rollout Wednesday, acknowledging the frustration felt by many.
"I understand your frustration. I know you're out of patience, as am I," said Northam.
Vaccine supply remains much lower than current demand, but Northam said the federal government is increasing the state's allotment by 16-percent and will keep that increase in place, allowing the state to plan a month in advance instead of a week in advance.
"This is really good news and will help us plan to get more shots in more arms more quickly," he said. Virginia has reached its goal of vaccinating 25,000 people per day, but now the goal is 50,000.
Seniors in long term care facilities have been among the biggest early priorities of the rollout. CVS and Wallgreens said they should done with vaccinating them by early February.
Hospitals also got many of the first doses of the vaccines. Northam said they've worked to make sure all doses are being used and 40,000 additional people are being vaccinated this week as they checked their inventories. "There's no excuse for first doses being unused. Get them out and them into arms now," he said.
VDH is also adding more data to its online dashboard to provide increased transparency to the vaccine process. It will now show how many vaccines have been administered by group and how many have been distributed by dose.
Still, many have questions about where they can get and shot and how they can sign up. Northam said the state was preparing to answer questions like that in February, but federal guidance told states to increase eligibility to people over 65 now. He said people should ask their local health districts for now, but said the state would offer more guidance soon. "I hear you and we're getting this fixed," he said.
For now, he's asking everyone remain patient. "Vaccines are the light at the end of this long and dark tunnel," he said. "I also want to acknowledge everyone is out of patience and I understand that. That's why I want everyone to understand the actions we're taking to get more shots in more arms every day."