Federal supply remains biggest barrier to vaccination in Virginia, official says

Virginia is making strides in getting doses of COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of residents, but low federal supply remains the largest obstacle, according to the director of the state’s vaccine rollout on Friday.

Dr. Danny TK Avula, who was appointed to oversee Virginia’s vaccine efforts by Gov. Ralph Northam, told reporters Friday afternoon that the state was currently receiving around 100,000 doses of vaccines per week.

When Avula was first appointed, he said Virginia’s goal was to get to 50,000 doses distributed per day through mass vaccination sites staffed by members of the National Guard.

Establishing that infrastructure remains important, Avula said, but would be wasted without a higher supply of vaccines coming in from the federal government.

Currently, Virginia is distributing around 20,000 doses per day to residents in Phase 1a and 1b of the commonwealth’s vaccine priority list. Avula said, at the current pace, it would take two to three months to get through those two groups, which represent around half of Virginia’s population.

Virginia is not alone in facing shortages of national supply. The Associated Press reported that some states have canceled vaccination appointments due to a lack of supply, and others have received amounts of vaccine inconsistent from what they were told to expect.

Maryland has also faced a supply issue, as the state has been receiving around 10,000 doses of the vaccine per day since the initial shipment and administering over 15,000 doses per day. Despite that supply holdup, Gov. Larry Hogan authorized Maryland to move to vaccinate residents in Phase 1b last week, and scheduled Phase 1c to begin Monday.

D.C. is similarly moving forward with its vaccination efforts despite a shortfall of supply. On Tuesday, the District announced that teachers and police officers will be eligible to receive the vaccine starting next week. Still, D.C.’s desperation to get more doses was made apparent in that same announcement, which ended in an all caps message that read “DC NEEDS MORE VACCINE.”

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino, Jack Pointer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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