RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia will receive a tenth of the single-shot doses it received last week after 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had to be scrapped because of a production mix-up last month, according to Virginia's COVID-19 vaccine coordinator.
The news, which came during Dr. Danny Avula's weekly briefing Friday on efforts to rollout the COVID-19 vaccine, means Virginia will receive just shy of 30,000 doses next week between the ones shipped directly to the state and the vaccines coming in via the federal retail pharmacy program.
Avula said the fewer doses does not change the state's April 18 deadline to shift to Phase 2, when vaccines will be open to anyone age 16 and over who wants one, but he said it does mean there will be fewer appointments until the vaccine supply increases.
Much like the local health districts, Avula said the statewide goal is to offer at least a first dose to everyone that wants one by the end of May.
Avula said the other impact from the J&J drop in doses will be the state's plans to vaccinate college students that are learning in-person before they leave for summer break.
"Some of the higher-ed institutions that we're planning on starting student vaccination next week, we'll have to push that back by a week or so," Avula acknowledged. "There are still a small number of institutions that, based on their last day of classes, that we will still prioritize with the small amount of Johnson & Johnson that we're receiving next week."
For how the state allocates the vaccine --
Avula also addressed how the state will allocate those doses. He said that the health department will still distribute the vaccine with the goal of getting all health districts into Phase 2 at the same time.
However, once all those districts are in Phase 2, the health department will divvy up doses based on the number of unvaccinated people in each district. But as the rollout progresses, they will adapt vaccine distribution based on the level of demand in each locality.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.