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Virginia still expects influx of vaccines next week

vaccine
Posted at 4:17 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 18:16:05-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Virginia health officials still expect an influx of vaccines next week.

"I think we're still very much on track to meet our goals to open up to the general population before May 1," Dr. Danny Avula, the state vaccination coordinator, told News 3 on Monday.

This week Virginia is receiving more than 500,000 doses of vaccines when combined with doses pharmacies are receiving through a federal partnership. Next week, Virginia expects to receive around 100,000 doses of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine, a large increase from the 9,600 they've been receiving over the last few weeks.

At this point, most people 65 and over should have been contacted about setting up an appointment. "If they haven't, there may be an issue with their entry so we would really encourage you to reach out to your local health department or to call the state call center at 877-VAX-IN-VA," said Avula.

In Virginia Beach, people 65+ still waiting for an appointment should email vaccinateVB@vdh.virginia.gov.

Recently, Virginia dipped below the stated goal of vaccinating 50,000 per day and is just shy of it. Avula attributed it to delays from pharmacies in reporting vaccinations, but said the data should catch-up shortly. If people are still waiting, he expects things to really open up soon.

"I look at April and May as the big rush to vaccine as we open up to the general public and get as close as we can to that 75-percent herd immunity goal," he said.

Still, some remain hesitant or skeptical about getting vaccinated. Experts from around the country will be holding virtual town halls this week and in the weeks ahead to try and clear up any questions people may have. The first one is tonight and you can find more information about them here.

"We feel if there can be more of a give and take, there can be live question and answer sessions, the public will feel better about the answers they're getting," said Dr. Daniel Engel, a professor at the University of Virginia who helped organize the town halls.

Click here to view our COVID-19 vaccination guide.