RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia will receive 14,800 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine next week, a significant drop from the last shipment that the state’s vaccine coordinator believes could initially limit the number of appointments local health districts can schedule as they move to expand eligibility to all adults.
After getting a smaller shipment of the one dose vaccine delivered last week, Virginia’s J&J allocation moved up to more than 200,000 — 124,000 for local health districts and 150,000 for pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program — this week.
Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s vaccine coordinator, said Friday that the commonwealth was expecting a similar shipment of doses for health districts next week but the federal government informed state health officials that Virginia would instead only receive 14,800 J&J shots.
“Definitely a big drop from what we were hoping to get, but it won’t impact how we move into Phase 2,” Dr. Avula said in an interview. “It has two main implications. It can slow down our progression [in Phase 2] and limit the total number of appointments.”
Avula noted that with multiple health districts already moving into Phase 2 of Virginia’s vaccination plan, the stage where everyone 16 and over is eligible, the effort to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults across the commonwealth by April 18 is still on track.
He also explained that people would still be able to search for and schedule a vaccine appointment, but slots could be limited initially and force people in Phase 2 to wait a little longer to get a vaccine.
A Johnson & Johnson spokesman noted the federal government allocates the doses going to states in an email to 8News in late March. The company has not yet responded to 8News’ request seeking comment.
President Biden previously announced one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Merck, would assist Johnson & Johnson in producing its vaccine.
This story is developing. Stay with 8News for updates.