RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced a milestone for Virginia surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor says that more than seven million Virginians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). Health officials launched the state vaccine campaign in December 2020.

“Over seven million Virginians have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose, an incredible milestone in our path towards normalcy and demonstrates that Virginia is leading in the fight against COVID-19, once again. I will continue to encourage everyone to get the vaccine, as it’s the best method to prevent serious illness from the virus,” said Youngkin. “While I’ve been a strong advocate of getting the vaccine and boosters, I will not mandate it. I’m pleased that over 80% of Virginians have made an individual decision to get the vaccine.” 

The seven million representing 81.5% of the commonwealth’s total population and out of the adult population — those who are 18 years of age or older — 92.4% have been vaccinated at least once. Over two million Virginians have received a booster or third dose of the vaccine.

“As we celebrate Public Health week in Virginia, it’s important to not just recognize the commitment of our public health workers, but also to acknowledge that public health must be a community-wide focus.  COVID-19 made that very clear and today’s vaccine achievement is the result of collaboration among public health and other healthcare workers, community groups, pastors, and many others. As we look forward to tackling other health and wellness challenges, those partnerships will be the driver of success,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel.

VDH has put together several strategies to reach people in its vaccination campaign such as:

  • Vaccinate Virginia: A statewide call center (877-VAX-IN-VA) and website (Vaccinate.Virginia.gov) were established to help Virginians register for notification of vaccine appointments.
  • Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs): Large-scale vaccination centers across Virginia have helped healthcare staff administer hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses.
  • Community Partnerships: Health districts across the Commonwealth created partnerships with organizations to help get vaccines to hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations by utilizing mobile clinics, and vaccination events at churches and community centers.

“This represents yet another victory in our fight against COVID-19. By allowing for extensive protection against hospitalization and death from the virus, this achievement paves the way for the continued return of our daily lives to normalcy. We could not have reached this milestone without the combined efforts of VDH employees, healthcare workers, and a host of community volunteers that continue to make vaccination against COVID-19 readily available,” said Acting State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “As we recognize this week as National Public Health Week, our vaccination efforts illustrate the power of public health and community partnerships to make a difference and save lives.”

Health officials continue to try to reach Virginians in rural areas of the state, persons hesitant to be vaccinated, and persons in need of boosters to be up to date on their vaccinations.

“Reaching the point of having seven million Virginians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is a huge accomplishment,” said State Vaccination Coordinator Christy Gray, MPH, who’s also the director of the Division of Immunization in VDH’s Office of Epidemiology. “We couldn’t have done it without the hard work of the more than 3,500 VDH employees and of our partners across the state: pharmacies, physicians’ offices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and numerous community partners helping to take the vaccination message to the public. Our vaccination campaign is a triumph of the entire community against this virus.”