Peninsula city managers express frustration with lagging COVID-19 vaccine rollout in joint letter

Coronavirus

RN Connie Garcia extracts a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine which will be administered to a Texas Tech University Health Science Center student at Texas Tech University Health Science Center’s Academic Building Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in Odessa, Texas. (Jacob Ford/Odessa American via AP)

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Peninsula city managers are sharing their frustration over the lack of COVID-19 vaccine availability in the region.

In a joint letter issued Monday afternoon, city managers on the Peninsula say they are trying their best to be as patient as they can while the Virginia Department of Health decides the next steps for vaccine rollout in the area.

The joint letter was signed by Williamsburg City Manager Andrew Trivette, James City County Administrator Scott Stevens, York County Administrator Neil Morgan, Newport News City Manager Cindy Rohlf, Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting, and Poquoson City Manager Randy Wheeler.

The city managers say they have submitted plans to have three vaccination clinic sites on the Peninsula and they are hoping the plans will be approved by VDH this week.

“We agree that being patient while waiting for a vaccine to be available for everyone is challenging when little information is available regarding when or how you will get access,” officials said in the letter.

Residents eager to learn more about what city officials plan for the COVID-19 vaccine will have to wait as they themselves are reaching out to VDH for answers.

“We cannot provide details of our planning because they may change based on VDH review. We do not want to add to the confusion by changing announced plans more than is necessary.”

According to VDH data over the weekend, the majority of Hampton Roads residents who have been fully vaccinated are still in the double digits.

Fully vaccinated (Sunday’s numbers)

  • Accomack: 66
  • Chesapeake: 130
  • Franklin: 5
  • Gloucester: 145
  • Hampton: 156
  • Isle of Wight: 40
  • James City County: 220 
  • Mathews: 45
  • Newport News: 414 
  • Norfolk: 143
  • Northampton: 35 
  • Poquoson: 45
  • Portsmouth: 25
  • Southampton: 3
  • Suffolk: 56
  • Virginia Beach: 212 
  • Williamsburg: 0
  • York: 203

Vaccine data had yet to be updated at the time of publishing, but Virginia is now up just over 15,000 per day on average. Virginia has a short-term goal of 25,000 people (50,000 long-term) on average as it looks to get more people in phase 1b vaccinated, but Virginia Department of Health officials say there still isn’t enough supply to roll out vaccines on scale at this time. Virginia’s only getting about 100,000 doses per week. That means it’s now not expecting to begin mass vaccinations until March.

In a call over the weekend, officials said there have been more doses administered than are being reported on VDH’s website. That’s due to data entry lag, which VDH is hoping to improve with the recent addition of new staff. About 226,000 of the distributed doses have also gone to Walgreens and CVS, who are in charge of administering the doses to long-term care facilities, which are still in the process of vaccinations.

“Those doses are out of our control,” said Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s head of vaccine rollout. Virginia gets those doses but then hands them over to CVS and Walgreens.

When the time comes for large-scale rollout, Virginia will make announcements, officials say. Those that currently meet the requirements for phase 1b should contact their health department or physician in the meantime to check availability.

If you are not computer savvy or don’t have access, you can call your health department directly by finding the correct number on this directory.

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Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Senatara COVID-19 Infographic (Dec. 2020)

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