Blue Ridge Health District’s request for more COVID-19 vaccine doses is not being filled

Blue Ridge Health District’s request for more COVID-19 vaccine doses is not being filled

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Blue Ridge Health District received double the amount of Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the state this week, but it is still not as much as they’ve been asking for.

“We got 4,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson, which is really a boost for us because our doses of Moderna and Pfizer were in total less than 5,000,” incident commander for BRHD, Ryan McKay said.

The BRHD has the space and staff to vaccinate thousands of people a day at the JCPenney clinic, if they had the doses. The problem is that they do not.

“2,000 shots a day would be great. That would really get us through 1b and 1c relatively quickly and then into phase 2, which would be opening up to all adults who want the vaccine,” McKay said.

McKay estimates that the health district needs 20,000 doses each week to vaccinate everyone in phase 1b and 1c. Their requests to the state for those shots are not being filled.

“We would love to operate out of JCPenney in our localities, so that on a given day we’re administering 2,000 doses and that would be roughly 1,000 first and 1,000 second depending on which vaccine it is. On top of that, we would love for UVA to be able to do the same out of the Big Lots location,” McKay said.

Now as some people get their shots and others do not, there’s a new risk of mixed messages. The health district, the University of Virginia, and some pharmacies are all trying to communicate at the same time.

“Individuals may also be receiving duplicate emails so to speak. So, they would be getting an email from VAMs and they may also be getting an email from the state preregistration database and I think there might be some confusion there,” McKay said. “If you previously had an account that was uploaded by your employer, you may not get an email and then you should check the VAMS platform and the VAMs system to schedule an appointment.”

McKay says when BRHD appointment slots for 1as and 1bs start to open up and space becomes available, that’s when the health department can expand to those in 1c.

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