ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Even though more people are being vaccinated in the Blue Ridge Health District each week, doctors at University of Virginia Health are worried about a potential fourth wave of the coronavirus.
“At most, about half the population has some level of protection against COVID either from vaccination or from natural infection. That’s a half glass full, half glass empty proposition,” Dr. Costi Sifri, an infectious disease doctor at UVA Health, said. “There are places in the U.S. - in Michigan around Detroit and the New York City area - where we are seeing increased case counts and those have been trending up for the last three to four weeks.”
He says staying ahead of the curve now could determine the future of this pandemic.
“I think the next four to six week period of time is critically important. We’re able to use this time to push these vaccine rates from the 30% range right now towards much higher levels, and I think that’s what we need to capitalize on. We’re on the goal line board, I’m afraid that we could potentially fumble the ball,” Sifri said.
Even though progress has been made in this vaccine rollout, challenges like inconsistent supply still lie ahead.
“The week of April 5 we’re getting a little less than 6,000 doses of vaccine for our Seminole Square locations,” UVA Health Spokesperson Eric Swenson said.
Officials say that location can do more than twice that, if they have the doses.
“At full operation we can vaccinate on the order of 14,000 to 15,000 people per week just at our Seminole Square location,” Sifri said. “We are hearing about and are anticipating increased allocations from federal sources, and so we are looking at expanding our days of operation at Seminole Square.”
UVA Health will begin vaccinating UVA faculty, staff, and contracted workers soon. Sifri says those individuals should expect to receive an invitation to schedule an appointment next week.