RICHMOND, Virginia – The Virginia Vaccine Coordinator says the Virginia Department of Health will change the way it distributes doses of COVID-19 due to continuing vaccine shortages, and that if supplies do not increase, it could take between two and three months to complete the vaccination of those who meet the conditions of Phase 1A and 1B of the introduction
“For now, most recipients need to know that they will get quite reliably what they receive over the next four weeks,” Dr Danny Avula said at a briefing on Friday. “We have to deal with and mitigate expectations, because with only a few hundred or in some cases a few thousand doses coming into each community, there won̵
As of Friday, the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine board said 1,010,150 doses had been distributed in the state, with 424,857 doses or just over 42%. According to Bloomberg’s national vaccination tracker, the national average at the beginning of Saturday was 49.7%. The average daily seven-day shots in Virginia, which are applied daily, are 19,405.
During the briefing, Avula said his role, which he began two weeks ago, to improve the spread of vaccines in Virginia, was organized in three phases: bridging reporting gaps, addressing supply and demand issues, and building infrastructure. the state for vaccination prepared to increase supply.
Avula said much of his work since starting work has been about where vaccine supplies from Virginia go and whether or not they are reported quickly when they are applied.
“Right now, if you look at the data, you’ll see that there are just under 600,000 doses that are not reported,” Avula said. “We really need to understand why this is where these doses are and how the public understands the current state of vaccine supply in Virginia.”
Avula repeated what he and other state leaders had said in the past about the difference between widespread and administered shots, and said they would never fully overcome it as shipments arrived every week. He said the difference would be between 170,000 and 200,000, depending on the number of first and second doses delivered each week.
“The extra second doses we get vary. Sometimes it’s 60,000. Sometimes a little more,” Avula added.
Avula had said Thursday that there were approximately 90,000 doses that had been administered to Virginia but had not been entered into the state database. He said a new team of ten people had been deployed this week to help solve the problem.
He also said that most of the doses of Virginia reserved for the federal partnership with Walgreens and CVS pharmacies to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities have not yet been used.
“226,000 doses were planned and set aside for CVS and Walgreens. Now not all of those doses have been delivered, not all have been reduced, but set aside,” said Avula, who added that as of Thursday, about 66,000 doses had been given. “There are a large number of cases, probably around 100,000 at this time, that have been distributed in Virginia but have not yet been administered.”
Avula said they had spoken to government officials about the two pharmacies and said they were working to speed up vaccination rates and were working to get through all nursing homes and life support facilities by the end of January. He said some of the challenges they face include outbreaks of facilities, which repel the time when vaccinators can enter, and that the willingness of people in these facilities to receive the vaccine is low.
“We have heard anecdotally different figures that it seems that the residents, the elderly residents of these facilities have a higher utilization – 70 to 80%. But the staff is smaller. It is decreasing by 30 to 40%,” said Avula. He added that some staff members later tend to get vaccinated after seeing their colleagues. Avula said they are also in talks with CVS and Walgreens to redistribute some of these federal vaccines to other pharmacies to speed up the process. “They are looking at their estimates of how much vaccine they will need to go through their three phases … and that they will be willing to allow us to redeploy to other pharmacies. So, I’ll probably know at least on Monday what this is. number and how we would approach that. “
Demand is greater than supply
Avula said Virginia received 105,000 doses last week, while it had requests from the state for nearly 300,000 doses, and they expect to face a similar discrepancy in the next few weeks, so VDH will start allocating doses based only on per cent of the population.
“So, for each community, we know what percentage of the population they have, and then we assign that percentage to this week’s distribution,” Avula said. “What we did was really hope for local health departments like ESF [Emergency Support Functions]… leads in their community to coordinate the reaction. “
Avula said local health departments have been told how much vaccine their areas will receive and have worked with their partners to determine how doses will be distributed in their areas.
“So, it looks different in different areas. In some cases, health departments and hospitals work hand in hand to make large-scale PODs. [point of dispensing], “added Avula.” You will have different vaccine channels in different areas. Part of this will happen through large-scale vaccinations, another part will happen through partnerships with pharmacies that focus on segments of the population.
“Health departments are really working hard to figure out how to prioritize this vaccine. We continue to give priority to non-category 1A people who may not have been vaccinated in the first round and will therefore be working in clinics. as is available, “Avula said. “And then we have this very large 1B group. And I think the challenge is when you only get a few thousand doses a week to be distributed among hospitals, health systems, health departments, providers and pharmacies – how do you do it that way? And the answer is that you don’t. You can’t. And understandably, this has led to a lot of confusion and dissatisfaction on the part of our audience who say, “Hey, I’m in 1B. Why can’t I find a place to get vaccinated? “
Avula said health departments and their partners should provide capacity each week for 65+ of Part 1B and at the same time provide vaccination opportunities for key front-line workers.
Avula was asked if he could move on due to the limited supply of vaccines if health districts stopped the practice of allowing people outside their jurisdiction to attend open POD events to receive the vaccine. Avula said he would see how the problem arose.
“If there are situations where it seems that this is abusive or creates big inequalities, because people in the neighboring area have a greater ability to move across the country line,” Avula said. “Then we’ll have to reconsider this and reconsider … are we stricter about where we live?”
Preparation for mass vaccination clinics
Finally, Avula said the third phase of VDH planning is to build the infrastructure for mass vaccination clinics that will be needed to achieve Governor Ralph Northm’s goal of 50,000 vaccinations a day and to inoculate 70% by 80% of the population and achieve immunity to the herd.
Avula said it also has a huge capacity in the state’s health systems and health departments, but they also have about 2,000 supplier groups and 400 pharmacies that are approved to provide vaccinations.
“I have no worries that we can get up to 50,000 doses a day,” Avula said. “Except we don’t have the vaccine.”
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Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more serious illnesses, including death, especially in the elderly or those with chronic illnesses.
COVID-19 is spread mainly by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of exposure to an infected person.
Virginia health officials have called for the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if there is no soap or water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid trivial trips.