CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Department of Health is speaking out as to why the state vaccine rollout is not going as swiftly as planned. The state vaccine coordinator, Dr. Danny TK Avula, says they are getting an extremely limited supply due to decisions made on the federal level.
VDH is set to receive only 105,000 doses a week for the foreseeable future even though 5 million people in Virginia are eligible to get the vaccine.
Due to that limited supply, VDH is distributing doses to local health districts based on population density geographically. The Blue Ridge Health District accounts for less than 3% of the state population, which is why BRHD is only getting 2,950 doses a week.
This has caused a great deal of frustration, not just across the Blue Ridge Health District, but statewide.
“When you’re only getting a couple of thousand doses a week to be distributed between hospitals, health systems, health departments, providers, and pharmacies, how do you do that in a way that even comes close to meeting demand?” Dr. Avula asked.
He says it is not physically possible to meet the demand and “understandably, that has led to a great deal of confusion and frustration.”
Now, just under 20,000 doses are being administered a day statewide. In order to be on track, VDH wants to be administering 50,000 doses a day. Until Virginia is granted more vaccines from the federal level, that cannot happen.
“The Biden administration has come in and said ‘we’re going to get to 100 million doses in 100 days’ and that’s encouraging, so we just need to see that happen,” Dr. Avula said.
Dr. Avula says VDH plans to deploy the National Guard in February to pick up the pace of vaccine distribution.