VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - State Sen. Bill DeSteph wrote a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam Wednesday expressing his displeasure that Virginia Beach has not yet moved on to the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
DeSteph represents Virginia's 8th Senate District, which includes Virginia Beach. The state senator noted that the Resort City is the largest and most populous city in the Commonwealth and that Hampton Roads is the only region in the state that is still in Phase 1A.
"This is not because we aren’t ready; and not because there aren’t enough doses available for them to do so. As you know, Virginia Beach indeed has the infrastructure and supplies ready to go. We are still in 1A because we are waiting on you," DeSteph wrote.
In the letter, DeSteph went on to say that Virginia Beach has developed a portal that has been tested to facilitate the registration process for residents eligible for vaccination under Phase 1B and that City Manager Patrick Duhaney has declared that as soon as the Virginia Department of Health authorizes the transition to Phase 1B, it is ready to go.
"So, why is the largest city in Virginia still in 1A?" he questioned the governor. "We have everything we need to administer the vaccine."
DeSteph says that city officials were told that they would receive 110,000 doses of the vaccine each week, but Virginia has not received any doses since January 13, according to the state health department's website.
"Governor, I implore you. No more excuses. No more explanations. We need results. We need leadership. We need action. The Commonwealth is depending on you. I welcome an opportunity to meet and discuss how we may best serve the citizens of Virginia as we navigate this crisis," DeSteph ended his letter.
Wednesday night, the VDH announced that the Western Tidewater Department of Health would move into Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout starting next week. Last week, only one city in Hampton Roads moved into Phase 1B while the rest of the Commonwealth moved ahead. Employees who work for Chesapeake Public Schools were told they could start receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on January 13.
Click here to read DeSteph's full letter.