Chesterfield Board of Supervisors writes to Gov. Northam saying Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is ‘totally defective’

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Tuesday seeking answers about the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

County board members James Holland, Christopher Winslow, Jim Ingle, Kevin Carroll and Leslie Haley, criticized Virginia’s mass vaccination campaign calling it “totally defective.”

The board said they have run out of patience and tolerance.

According to board members, local health districts learned Friday that they would have to come up with a way for citizens to register for a vaccine since the state’s online eligibility tool did not offer that option.

Chesterfield board members are demanding accountability. They want to know why it’s taking longer for Virginia residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Also, they asked why it appears that citizens in Chesterfield are having to wait longer than those in other communities.

“Virginia has far too many doses still not administered, and that’s not the fault of the federal
government. If Virginia is not getting its fair share of the national allotment, we must know what
is being done to inform Virginia citizens about where we stand as a commonwealth and where
lies the accountability that should accompany such simple metrics,” the board wrote.

The state has asked local heath districts to start vaccinating public employees, including teachers. But the Chesterfield board said they have received a fraction of the doses need to achieve this goal.

“A recent order of 8,000 doses resulted in only 1,000 delivered, and now we’re being told to only expect 1,500 doses per week over the next four weeks,” the board said.

Board members said that unless the state can double the supply of vaccines, they foresee four weeks from now only being able to use their limited allotment to meet the second dose needs of people for the subsequent four-week period.

Dr. Danny Avula, who is leading Virginia’s vaccination efforts, said last week that he is confident the federal government will send a second dose for each Virginian.

“So far, the federal government has delivered on all of those second doses,” Dr. Avula said.

Dr. Avula explained that the federal government is keeping track of when first doses go out and will send second doses to the same providers three weeks later.

“At this rate, we are six-plus months from achieving the goal of vaccinating the employees
deemed essential for the continuity of government and schools,” board members wrote.

What’s happening now is neither equitable nor fair to citizens or public employees, including
teachers, who look to their local leaders to lead. We need action from you, as do the people who
have entrusted us to do what’s best for the community. People need answers and accountability
when systems fail, call center numbers have wait times exceeding two hours, appointments are
canceled, and a litany of other cries that can’t be explained away with nice words, but rather
action with deliberate speed and in an equitable and fair manner.”

Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors

Senior Communications Advisor to Gov. Northam, Alena Yarmosky provided the following statement in an email to 8News Thursday afternoon:

The Governor shares the frustration in Chesterfield—and across Virginia—that the national vaccine supply is currently so limited. The entire Commonwealth, which includes 133 different localities, is currently receiving 105,000 doses per week from the federal government. That’s about a third of the doses requested by localities and health systems last week, and nowhere near our capacity to administer shots.

As of today, Virginia has administered about 50 percent of the doses distributed to us. That is due to a few different factors: 1) data entry issues undercounting our progress; 2) allocation to the federal partnership responsible for vaccinating long-term care facilities; and 3) some providers who are continuing to save shots for future use. We have made immense progress in addressing these challenges, and the Governor will update Virginians on next steps during tomorrow’s press conference. While we are nearly at our goal of 25k shots per day—more than twice as many as we were giving two weeks ago—we have additional work ahead.

Gov. Northam’s office

READ: FULL LETTER TO GOVERNOR NORTHAM

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