By Taylor Boyd
The country is on track to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of 70 percent of Americans vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4, state health officials said.
During a recent Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) tele-press conference, Dr. Danny Avula, vaccine coordinator in Virginia, said the U.S. was making good progress with the vaccination campaign, with 41 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
“We’re at 65 percent today,” Avula said last week. “If we break that down, it’s about 343,000 people left to hit that 70 percent goal. So, that’s about 8,000 people a day. And we have been tracking a good bit better than that.”
He estimated 20,000 received their first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine during the week ending May 21.
Avula said the numbers are also bolstered by the expansion of the Pfizer vaccine to children who are between the ages of 12 and 15.
“In just over a week of having that approval and access, we have had 52,649 Virginians who are in that age range” receive a COVID-19 vaccine, he said.
The VDH COVID-19 Vaccine Data Dashboard also was updated to include federally administered doses, which monitors the vaccines administered by federal government partners including the Bureau of Prisons, Department of Defense, the Indian Health Service, and the VA Hospital System.
In the coming months, Avula said the vaccination numbers will increase more slowly due to a shift to more mobile units and popup clinics.
“We’re certainly seeing a lot of fruit” with this project, “it’s just slower and harder,” he said.
Avula said the federal government will also shift more towards the primary healthcare providers to help vaccinate “the segments of our community who just want reassurance, want to talk to a healthcare provider.”
This also will make it easier for primary care providers to access vaccine, he added.
In the latest studies, Pfizer showed that the storage and handling requirements have been updated, he said.
“So, instead of having a really limited amount of time that Pfizer could be refrigerated, we can now ship things frozen, have them frozen for two weeks, and then have a full month at refrigeration temperatures. That’s going to make it a lot easier for many practices to receive Pfizer- to keep it frozen and transition it to refrigerator and have a lot more time to work through those doses,” Avula said.
Data from the Virginia Department of Health on May 30 suggested there are 4,649 cases, with 367 hospitalizations, and 124 deaths in Henry County. In Patrick County, 1,377 cases with 108 hospitalized, and 43 dead from the COVID-19 virus were reported. In the City of Martinsville, 1,618 cases were reported with 164 hospitalized, and 77 dead.
The data also suggested there are 675,538 cases in the state, with 29,757 hospitalized, and 11,186 dead from the COVID-19 virus. Information from the CDC suggested there are 33,079,543 cases in the United States and 591,265 dead from coronavirus.
Data also suggests that as of May 30, 3,754,326 Virginians have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
For more tips on how to stay safe, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.