RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Dr. Danny Avula, head of the Virginia Department of Health’s vaccine distribution efforts, gave a Friday afternoon press briefing about the state’s vaccination progress.
Dr. Avula said they have seen a huge bump in allocation of vaccines, going from 130,000 doses last week to 161,000 this week.
He said weather has been a big challenge across the country, and caused huge delays in the delivery of vaccines. 106,000 doses of Moderna did not get delivered this week because of the weather and will be pushed to next week. He said this means they will need to see greater output efforts next week.
The doctor said over the last few weeks they have been making efforts to allocate doses to some of the most vulnerable communities, such as those in long-term care facilities and Black communities.
Going forward, Dr. Avlua said the VDH is going to focus efforts on a “weighted allocation,” meaning focusing on locations where there is a higher rate of COVID-19 hospitalization and death, which is often in Black and Latino communities.
Dr. Avula also talked a little bit about people getting the second dose of the vaccine. He said now that the nation has seen four straight weeks of vaccines being produced and delivered, providers can feel more confident about giving second doses.
Most of the time, Avula said people sign up for their second dose appointment when they get their first.
Dr. Avula said some people who got their first shot somewhere else are trying to get their second where they are now. He said they are asking people to go back to where they got the first dose to get the next because that is how the vaccines are being allocated.
Dr. Avula said the vaccine registration system is still a preregistration system. In addition vaccine events are still very much restricted and curated based on what the specifications for that vaccination event, like teachers or those 65-and-up.
He estimated that when there are more vaccines available, hopefully by the end of April, Virginia would be able to shift to more open registration where people can sign up and schedule their appointment online. Dr. Avula the state isn’t there yet though, and the registration process is still a waiting line.
Dr. Avula also acknowledged how some people don’t see their name on the new centralized list. He said the VDH is still working with local health departments to get the list updated. He said people should see their name on it by tomorrow.
However, Dr. Avula said if you don’t see your name, you should sign up again. Then, once the two departments are done sharing their lists, you will be returned to your same spot in line. He also suggested calling the VDH’s new vaccine hotline.