RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday morning 70% of Virginia's adults have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, marking an important milestone.
President Joe Biden set a goal earlier this year to have 70% of the adult population vaccinated with at least one dose before July 4.
Virginia hit that mark nearly two weeks earlier than health officials and Northam had hoped.
Northam said Virginia is the 16th state in the U.S. to reach the milestone.
"We have not only met that goal, we have beaten it," said Northam. "And 60% of adults are fully vaccinated."
Northam joined cabinet members at the Market at 25th Street and Fairmount Avenue in Richmond to officially mark the big achievement.
"This market is a lifeline for folks in this community to get the basic necessities, and the pharmacy has been a tremendous partner in vaccinating people," said Northam.
The Market's lead pharmacist, Dr. Shantelle Brown, said her team has shifted its focus from the mass roll-out to education.
"We still have people everyday that come up, at least one or two, who aren't scheduled, who have finally decided that it's time for me to vaccinated, and so we get them in so we can give them what they need," said Brown.
While it's a celebration in Virginia, it's unlikely the nation will achieve the president's goal as more than double the daily number of new doses would need to be given between now and July 4 to make that happen.
"It is a day to celebrate for sure," said Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula, "But our work is not done yet."
Officials noted the Virginia Department of Health's (VDH) vaccine information dashboard on their website still shows 69.9% for the 18+ population because of data delays due to the holiday.
Northam had a message for those who have gotten vaccinated. "You have made yourself and your neighbors safer. You have allowed us to get back to a more normal life. You have made a difference."
He added, "Please get that shot your shot for yourself and for your family. It will save your life," to those who haven't.
When the governor spoke to CBS 6 Friday, he addressed Virginia's state of emergency expiring at the end of the month. He stated there's no need to extend it because of the state's rising vaccination rates and low case numbers.
But he did note that he's working to ensure those who want to wear a mask or are not vaccinated and need to wear a mask will be able to do so even after the state of emergency expires -- despite state laws in place that would make it illegal to do so.
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