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‘Use it or lose it’: Northam pushing to get COVID-19 vaccines into arms

Virginia covid-19
(© Ingo Menhard –

Gov. Ralph Northam is pushing healthcare providers to meet an initial goal of 25,000 COVID-19 vaccinations per day, as the state has still used less than 30 percent of the vaccines that have been distributed to date.

A press release from the governor’s office refers to a “use it or lose it” model that calls on medical facilities to put the vaccine they receive into arms as soon as possible, or risk having future vaccine allotments reduced.

The governor is also enlisting the Virginia National Guard to provide logistical support and help local health departments will administering vaccines.

“Getting Virginians vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to end this pandemic, rebuild our economy, and move our Commonwealth forward,” Northam said.

The Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine dashboard update for Thursday had the state at 135,863 vaccine doses administered – 28.2 percent of the 481,550 doses that had been distributed as of yesterday morning.

The dashboard reported that just 3,244 new doses had been administered on Wednesday – 12.9 percent of that new daily goal handed down by the governor.

This 25,000 daily goal is just an initial goal – at least we’d better hope.

If the goal is to get everybody vaccinated, it would take 688 days at 25,000 vaccine doses a day to get the state’s 8.6 million residents both doses of the vaccine.

Northam also announced on Wednesday the appointment of Dr. Danny T.K. Avula, who serves as director of the Richmond City and Henrico County Health Departments, to lead vaccination efforts in Virginia.

It will be Avula’s job to coordinate work between state officials, local health departments, hospitals and private providers.

Why there hadn’t been a point person on this effort previous to this week is anybody’s guess.

“By setting clear goals and appointing Dr. Avula to spearhead our vaccination program, we will have a clear vision of how this effort—the largest public vaccination campaign in modern history—is progressing. I plan to get vaccinated when my turn comes, and I encourage Virginians to do the same,” Northam said.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press