Every Virginian who wants a vaccine should be eligible by end of April, says Dr. Avula


Henrico County Health Districts Director Dr. Danny Avula, gestures during a news conference at the Government Center Thursday April 2, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Avula gave an update on the Canterbury Rehabilitation Center COVID-19 cases and deaths. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — State Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula expects every Virginian who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible before the end of April and should be able to get at least their first dose by the end of May.

On a weekly Virginia Department of Health tele-briefing call Friday, Avula said Virginia will easily meet President Joe Biden’s goal for every American to be eligible for a vaccine by May 1, based on the state’s supply, demand and vaccination pace.

In the update, Avula said 2.5 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Virginia, which means about 19.5 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose.

Virginia is ranked fourth in the country for the percentage of available vaccine supply administered. The Commonwealth is ranked 12th in the country for the number of people fully vaccinated, according to Avula. He said this is in line with where Virginia should be, as it is the 12th most populous state.

The Commonwealth is now administering nearly 55,000 doses per day on average. Avula said it is realistic that Virginia will fully open up to Phase 1c in mid-April and that some parts of the state could hit that mark even sooner.

Dr. Avula said the months of April and May will have the highest vaccine supply and output numbers. He expects Virginia to give out 600,000 to 700,000 doses per week by that time.

Looking ahead to next week, Virginia is anticipating a total of 195,000 Moderna and Pfizer first doses and 150,000 second doses. The state is also expecting 9,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and projects that number to skyrocket in the weeks following as Johnson & Johnson ramps up production.

Avula said community vaccination centers, or CVCs will be introduced next week as well. He said these centers have been part of the state’s vaccination plan since the beginning but have not made sense from a supply standpoint until now.

Next week, three CVCs will open in Danville, Portsmouth and Petersburg. The Petersburg location will be held at Virginia State University and will administer 3,000 Pfizer doses per day starting Wednesday.

Dr. Avula said these centers are different from local mass vaccination sites because they will be staffed and administered by the state, and are funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars. However, they operate in the same way as local mass vaccination sites and will work off of the state pre-registration list.

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