RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Mayor Levar Stoney and Dr. Danny Avula are setting expectations as a COVID-19 vaccine gets closer to rolling out.
On Dec. 3, Mayor Stoney held a virtual COVID-19 response update stating there are 23 positive COVID-19 cases in the city government and 40 city employees are currently in quarantine.
Stoney and Dr. Danny Avula spent a lot of time talking about how the vaccine is safe and how communities of color should not be distrustful of vaccines.
Dr. Avula said the 7-day rolling case average remains high.
As for vaccine allocation in the Richmond-area, Dr. Avula estimates central Virginia has about 60,000 people in the health care workers and nursing home residents group.
At first, Avula predicts the limited vaccine will go to three places:
- Hospitals (for their workers)
- Long-term care facilities (for residents)
- Local health departments (for EMS and other first responders who need it or couldn’t get it at a hospital).
“All of these plans are active. It will be far beyond December before we’ve got through Tier 1A,” said Dr. Avula.
Since the metro-Richmond area carries between 8% and 12% of the state’s population, Dr. Avula estimates we will get that percentage of the 70,000 Pfizer vaccine doses coming in a few weeks.
“But there’s going to be a big gap and some of that gap will be addressed by the reality that not everyone is ready to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Avula.
Meanwhile, Mayor Stoney and Dr. Avula are trying to convince people of color to make the COVID-19 vaccine a priority.
“I know because I’ve heard it from people in my family, people in my corners as well, the reluctance of potentially actually receiving the vaccine because of the way the health care and medical community in the past have treated people who look like me,” said Stoney.
When available to the general public, Dr. Avula says you will be able to get a shot at your doctor’s office, a pharmacy or at mass vaccination clinics they are planning.
“The underlying assumption is that this vaccine will be at no cost to everybody who wants to receive it and the health department will clearly have a large role in delivering this,” said Dr. Avula.
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