More than 50,000 Virginians receive vaccines to start

Posted at 2:09 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 18:50:35-05

NORFOLK, Va. - More than 285,000 vaccines have been distributed in Virginia, but so far just about 54,000 people have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, according to information on VDH's website.

"Dealing with operations at this scale, it is expected to be slower at the beginning, but we are expecting to increase our efficiency over time," said Christy Gray, VDH's Director of Division of Immunization, during a teleconference on Wednesday.

Gray said there's a lag in getting data entered into the system, especially around the holidays. Because of that, the number of people vaccinated is higher than the data on the website, she said.

Virginia did receive fewer doses than originally expected, from about 480,000 to around 370,000. "This is a tough unprecedented health effort all around that we're trying to work together to make happen," said Gray.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration vowed 20 million Americans would be vaccinated by the end of the year, but the CDC reports just over two million actually have. Still, Gray said VDH is working well with Operation Warp Speed.

Healthcare workers and long term care facility residents are first in line to get the vaccines. Numbers on the VDH site show the age group with the most vaccinations is 30-39. Fewer than 10,000 of the people vaccinated are over 60 so far.

VDH explained many of the vaccines for long term care facilities are ready to go, but vaccine programs through Wallgreens and CVS still need to start.

"We are excited about this progress, but we have a lot of room to grow," said Gray. "We will get more efficient as we continue moving along."

Moving forward, VDH expects to receive about 100,000 vaccine doses per week with numbers ramping up through the winter and spring. It will still be several months before the general public can get a vaccine.

For those getting them, the vaccines are a big relief. "We have heard excitement from facilities that are getting vaccines," said Gray.

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