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Riverside Hospital: Virginia 'on the right track' when it comes to vaccine supplies

Riverside Health System’s Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer Cindy Williams, said vaccine supplies are better and her team is preparing for the next phase.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Three COVID-19 vaccines are on the table, a year after the first case was reported in Virginia.

Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer at Riverside Health System, Cindy Williams said her team expects, over the next couple of months there will be greater access to the vaccine. The newly approved Johnson and Johnson shot is helping.

“We’ve also seen Pfizer and Moderna increase their production capacity. So I think it’s really a combination of both of those things – increased manufacturing from the existing two vaccines and now have Johnson and Johnson,” Williams said. “I think we’re on the right track.”

She noted vaccines weren’t always readily available but things have changed.

“February was a very lean month," she said. “We think March is going to look much better than February and we anticipate the vaccine supply will continue to increase as we go into April and beyond.”

President Joe Biden said the country will have manufactured enough doses for every adult, by May. Williams said although that’s not impossible, actually vaccinating everyone could take longer.

“I think we have to determine what does May mean – is that May 31st? And then you’ve got to get them actually to locations to administer. I do think by the time we get into the summer there will be vaccine access for anybody who wants it," Williams said.

She explained, it’s all a matter of how quickly Virginia can work through the eligibility phases. Right now, vaccine access is still limited.

“In Virginia we’re still in phase 1b," Williams said. "But I think with the increase in vaccine supply, starting this month. We’re going to move through 1b pretty quickly."

Williams said her team is already exploring how to ramp up vaccination clinics in preparation for Phase 1c.

She added, pharmacies getting more supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine will also help vaccination efforts across the state.

Williams said the way out of the pandemic is to continue to wear face masks, social distance and get vaccinated.

Author's Note: The video below is on file from Dec. 21, 2020.