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Virginia public health leaders say COVID-19 vaccine demand has peaked, and a new strategy is needed

About 44% of all Virginians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Public health leaders will start sending more doses to primary care doctors.

NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia public health leaders say the demand for COVID-19 vaccines has peaked in the Commonwealth. Now, leaders say they’re looking to make vaccinations more convenient for people who have not yet received a shot.

About 44 percent of all Virginians have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Among eligible Virginians who are at least 16 years old, about 57 percent of people have received at least one shot.

Virginia's vaccine coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, said the Virginia Department of Health will start distributing more vaccine doses to primary care providers as the demand for vaccinations slows.

“We really saw demand peak and now we’re pivoting all over Virginia in a different direction to make sure people understand their options, that we make vaccinations as convenient as possible," said Dr. Avula in a press call Friday. "The sense of urgency and desperation that so many Virginians had to get vaccinated, that has changed.”

Avula said Virginia will push more doses to primary care doctors, mobile clinics, community pop-ups, and neighborhood centers to reach people who didn’t seek out an appointment.

“It wasn’t a high enough priority for [some people] to make an appointment and show up somewhere to wait in line, so we really need to understand convenience is a major factor for this segment of the population.”

Almost everyone who pre-registered for a vaccine in Virginia has now been invited to get a shot, Avula said. Public health leaders believe it's still a realistic goal to vaccinate 75 percent of Virginians.

“The whole idea of herd immunity is that we need to get as many people vaccinated as possible so that we don’t risk another surge of disease, that would be the worst thing for all of us," Avula said. "We have enough people remaining that can actually be infected, and that’s why we need to continue vaccinating as many people as possible.”

Avula said the CDC reports it's likely vaccines could be available for children 12 and older sometime in mid to late May. He said on-site school vaccinations could be possible in Virginia.

Close to 6.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered so far in the Commonwealth.

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