ORANGE CO., Va. (WVIR) - Frustration with the vaccine shortage goes beyond just the Blue Ridge Health District and spans across central Virginia. When medical staff at Orange Family Physicians finally received vaccine doses to distribute on Tuesday, they were met with both excitement and disappointment.
“We were able to get 100 doses,” Practice Manager Barbara Lohr said. “But, we have had a waitlist. It has over 1,000 names on it.”
Orange Family Physicians has seen around 1,600 patients over the age of 65 just in the past year. All of them qualify for the vaccine. That number doesn’t include the hundreds or thousands more under the age of 65 that also qualify for the vaccine under Phase 1b requirements.
Dr. Lawrence Keller and Dr. Chase Groseclose think those patients deserve better.
“100 doses... I don’t want to call it insulting per se, but we have so much more capacity than that to distribute the doses,” Dr. Groseclose said.
“We can gear up, we’ve got all our doctors who are on board, all our nurses, everybody’s on board to volunteer. We’ve talked to EMS and we’ve talked to the schools,” Dr. Keller said. “If the governor says you got 20,000 vaccines next Saturday, we’ll get rid of it.”
The Rappahannock Rapidan Health District (RRHD) says it is seeing much higher demand for the vaccine than what the federal government is doling out.
“We share the community’s disappointment that vaccine supplies are limited,” an RRHD press release stated.
Doctors like Groseclose are skeptical.
“You look at the numbers on the Virginia Department of Health and they say we’ve received 960,000 doses in the state of Virginia. We’ve given out 360,000 doses,” Dr. Groseclose said. “We’re not necessarily privy to all the other information, but that leaves 600,000 doses out there that we don’t really know where they are and then they give us 100. So, transparency would be helpful.”
Lohr says the 100 patients who did get their shot were over the moon.
“People were literally in tears they were so thankful,” she said. “I cannot tell you how happy they were that they were getting the vaccine.”
While Lohr says she knows VDH has their hands tied, she also knows the light at the end of the tunnel will be much further away if the slow pace of vaccine distribution continues.
“Orange County deserves better, as does any county,” she said. “Something’s got to give somewhere.”