Virginia to Receive Over 100,000 Fewer COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Than Anticipated

 

Virginia is now expected to receive just under 110,000 fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses from the federal government than originally anticipated.

Operation Warp Speed, the government’s vaccination program, informed the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) late Thursday night, and now the state is preparing to get 370,650 vaccine doses by the end of December instead of the initial 480,000 projection, according to a press release.

The VDH did not offer a specific reason for the lower allocation in the release, but said estimates for states from Operation Warp Speed and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can be adjusted.

“CDC and Operation Warp Speed provide regular estimates to states for vaccine distribution planning; these estimates remain subject to change,” the release reads. “VDH is working closely with the CDC to ensure a smooth and equitable vaccine deployment.”

Nevertheless, the VDH also announced that Virginia has already placed an order for 146,400 doses of Moderna’s COVID vaccine, which was endorsed for authorization by a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel Thursday, and will start to arrive next week if given final approval for use.

The original 480,000 doses would have almost been enough to vaccinate all of the estimated 500,000 healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents in Virginia – the two groups identified by the CDC and the state as top priority.

Virginia is not the only state being told to expect fewer doses in December, however. Many other states, such as Washington, will also be receiving a lower number of doses than projected beforehand, according to the Axios.

The Virginia Star contacted the VDH and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking why Virginia and other states were receiving less vaccine shipments than previously anticipated, but did not get responses before press time.

According to the New York Times, the smaller vaccine shipments were the result of a scheduling mishap that was created when federal officials decided to allocate next week’s doses this Tuesday rather than on Friday while responding to a request from different states.

On Wednesday, Pfizer released a written statement in which the company affirmed that vaccine production and distribution were going well.

“Pfizer is not having any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed,” the statement read. “This week, we successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the U.S. Government to the locations specified by them.”

In related news, the FDA released a statement on Wednesday saying some of the vials that are supposed to hold five doses of Pfizer’s vaccine can contain six or even seven, and that the extra liquid is acceptable to use if it makes up a full dose.

The first shipments of the vaccine – totaling 72,125 doses from Pfizer – arrived at 18 hospitals around Virginia on Monday and Tuesday, including at Bon Secours, VCU Health and Sentara. By Wednesday, those facilities had already begun administering doses to healthcare workers.

Under Virginia’s vaccination plan, the initial doses will go directly to front-line healthcare personnel who treat patients with COVID. Subsequent shipments will be split among healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents, with the latter group receiving vaccines at clinics from CVS and Walgreens teams through a federal partnership.

The second phase involves vaccinating Virginians who are medically vulnerable or other priority groups like certain essential workers, and then the final stage is for the general public as well as any other groups, but health officials expect it will take many months before vaccines are widely available.

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Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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