Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia vaccination czar, steps down from his job

Danny Avula
Posted at 5:41 PM, Jan 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 07:32:52-05

RICHMOND, Va. — Dr. Danny Avula, who has overseen Virginia's vaccination efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, has stepped down from his position.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Avula, who was named state vaccination coordinator a year ago, said he has taken on other responsibilities in the Virginia Department of Health and returned to his position as director of the Richmond City and Henrico County health districts. Avula said the job switch was his decision.

Christy Gray, the Virginia Department of Health’s Director of the Division of Immunization, will now oversee vaccinations in Virginia.

When Avula was tapped by Gov. Ralph Northam to lead the vaccination effort, he made a three-month commitment. Avula said he ended up staying on for much longer and began transitioning out of the role during the fall. Recently, he has assumed the title of state vaccination liaison, focusing on partner development and media relations.

A year ago, Virginia was behind other states in vaccine distribution. Now Virginia is ranked ninth in percentage of residents fully vaccinated.

“I think Virginia has done a phenomenal job – our vaccination numbers certainly support that,” Avula said. “I’d love to see higher numbers in our pediatric population, and I think the presence of omicron will drive some more uptake there.”

As of Thursday, 5.8 million Virginians have been fully vaccinated, or 68%. Among them, 2 million have received a booster.

Among children ages 5 to 11, 33% have received at least one dose, and 71% of adolescents ages 12-15 have done so.

Avula’s job change was never announced by the health department or Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration.

Mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Richmond Raceway.

Virginians age 5+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Go to Vaccine Finderto search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).

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Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
What you can and should not do once you have been fully vaccinated.

How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.

These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.

Click here for more information from the Virginia Department of Health.