ROANOKE, Va. – We need to do better.
That’s the message from one local health director addressing shortfalls and confusion over COVID vaccine distribution.
As many health districts move into priority group 1b, Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow said they’re facing roadblocks.
[Virginians 65 and older, here’s how you can request a coronavirus vaccine]
“We recognize that a lot of people are scared, they’re frustrated. Our numbers validate that. That fear and frustration is understandable and we too are frustrated that we have neither the vaccine supply nor the infrastructure to vaccinate everybody at once,” Morrow said.
10 News took those concerns to Virginia vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula who said that we’re dependent on supply from the federal government.
It’s then up to VDH to distribute those doses across Virginia, based on population size and infrastructure needed to vaccinate people.
“We have 110,000 or so doses that are going to come in each week and not everybody is going to get what they’re asking for,” explained Avula.
Those numbers are not expected to improve until production ramps up and more vaccine options are on the market, which Avula said, would likely be late March.
[Where are Virginia’s coronavirus cases? The health department’s interactive map]
“I want people to hold onto that hope but recognize that the reality is that it’s going to take months for a vaccine to come into our communities for us to get to that place of herd immunity,” Avula said.
As local departments work to sign up people who are eligible, Morrow admits they can do better.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for us to improve and we will. In the meantime, I cannot stress strongly enough for people to be patient,” Morrow said.
Morrow said they are working to improve communication and the ability to get people registered. She also encourages young, healthy people who may be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine to wait so that others who are more high risk can get theirs first.
Click here to learn during which phase you’ll be able to be vaccinated.