Virginia has begun vaccinating people on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, Governor Ralph Northam has provided a roadmap for the state’s next steps.
During a Wednesday press conference, Northam first addressed concerns about why the number of vaccines Virginia has received so far doesn’t match the number of shots administered.
“It’s taken a moment for reporting to catch up and for different computer systems to feed seamlessly into the Commonwealth’s central data portal for immunization," Northam explained. "I’m confident this will be seamless in just a few days.”
He said Virginia is currently administering about 14,000 doses a day, and the state hopes to increase that to 25,000 in the coming weeks.
Efforts to immunize frontline workers and patients at long-term care facilities continue, and the governor indicated people in the CDC’s group 1B will be next. That’s essential workers like first responders and grocery store employees.
But, Virginia has been allowed to make a tweak to who can be included in that group.
“The largest group of frontline, essential workers are our teachers, our childcare workers and anyone who works in K-12 schools," Northam said. "They’re high on the list of essential workers because teachers are critical to getting schools back open and that’s critical to people getting back to work and literally getting back to normal.”
Northam added the vaccines have provided hope that the pandemic could soon be over. But he said a dark winter is still ahead. A University of Virginia model predicts case counts will continue to rise until Valentine’s Day or later.