Virginia could get 400K+ COVID vaccine doses for first week of March
If approved by FDA, Johnson & Johnson doses could arrive here in days
Virginia could receive up to 433,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine doses for the first week of March, depending on the timing of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, according to Dr. Danny Avula, the state’s vaccine coordinator.
During a Friday news conference, Avula said the state expects to receive 69,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine during the week of March 1 if Johnson & Johnson receives FDA approval within a few days, as expected. (On Friday, an FDA panel endorsed Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and recommended that it receive emergency federal approval.)
Avula cautioned, however, that the number of doses after that will be considerably lower for a couple of weeks into March, until Johnson & Johnson can boost production.
Aside from Johnson & Johnson’s doses, the state’s health districts expect to get 180,000 first doses and 130,000 second doses next week, plus 52,000 doses sent to pharmacies and earmarked for Virginians ages 65 and older. The state has been able to vaccinate many more people this week, since about 106,000 Moderna vaccine doses were delivered following a weather-related delay last week. Avula said more than 71,000 people received shots in one day this week.
In his weekly press call, Avula also shed more light on Walmart’s vaccination program, in which the retailer is setting up off-site vaccine clinics at four Virginia locations each week, depending on need. This week, vaccines were administered in Norfolk, Chesterfield County, Virginia Beach and Roanoke. Next week’s sites will include Prince William County and a location between Petersburg and Emporia. Walmart is deciding on locations weekly based on which communities have not had as many opportunities for vaccination, Avula said, and its clinics are running only by appointment.
Eight pharmacy groups — CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Safeway, Food Lion, Food City, Giant and independent pharmacies — moved forward with vaccine administration this week as the number of doses allocated by the federal government to Virginia pharmacies doubled to 52,000 this week. Some doses went to people who had not preregistered with the state vaccine registry site, Avula said, but most pharmacies will be using the Virginia Department of Health’s preregistration lists starting next week. He expects everyone in Virginia’s group 1b — including essential employees, people age 65 and older and younger people with underlying health conditions — that wants a vaccine will be able to get their first dose by April.
This month, VDH launched a statewide vaccine registration website for all Virginia residents who want a vaccine, as well as a phone hotline staffed by 750 employees from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone who previously registered with their local health district can call the hotline if their information does not show up on the website, vaccinate.virginia.gov. The number is (877) VAX-IN-VA, or (877) 829-4682.
People age 65 and older who registered will be receiving calls from pharmacies, local health districts and people employed at the state hotline to set up appointments for shots, Avula said, advising Virginians to “answer a phone call, even if you don’t know where it’s coming from.”