Dose shortage stalls Northern Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccinations

Northern Virginians who were hoping to soon get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at an Inova hospital or clinic will have to wait longer.

In a statement Monday, Inova announced it has suspended giving those initial doses as of Tuesday “for the foreseeable future.”

Inova noted that Virginia health officials have made changes that mean doses will now be sent directly to health districts. That, they said, “severely diminished” Inova’s allocation of vaccine.

“When we receive more supply inventory, we will first prioritize patients who had an appointment scheduled and then focus on opening further appointments up to eligible groups,” the statement said. Those who have received the first dose and are scheduled for a second will also be prioritized.

But that will all take time: For now, the commonwealth is only receiving 105,000 doses a week from the federal government.

And the chairman of the Fairfax County Board, Jeff McKay, explained in his own statement Monday that it’s not just a nationwide shortage causing the local crunch. It’s also due to Virginia changing distribution to “per capita, as opposed to the amounts [counties and hospitals] have ordered.”

The county, McKay said, will work to help Inova honor its commitments to people who already had appointments.

“We will also continue to work through our registration queue and offer appointments in the order in which people have registered,” he said.

Virginia is currently in Phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout. That group includes K-12 educators. And after learning that employees for Fairfax County Public Schools would have to wait longer for a shot from Inova, a teachers union called on the district to adjust plans to bring students back into classrooms.

“We urge Fairfax County Public Schools to alter the return to school timeline given the current health metrics and this unfortunate shift in vaccine availability for school staff,” said Tina Williams, president of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers.

A Fairfax County Public Schools spokeswoman said the school system “is deeply disappointed with this incredibly devastating news.”

“However we will continue to work closely with Inova and the Health Department in Fairfax County to secure vaccine for all FCPS staff as soon as we can,” the spokeswoman said in an email.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer.

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