Local officials from across the state are looking to Governor Northam for answers regarding Virginia’s failed vaccine distribution, which, as of Tuesday, ranks 49th in the nation in efficiency. In letters to the Governor, leaders from Hampton Roads, Fairfax County, and Chesterfield County detail their respective issues with vaccine administration:
“We need answers. What’s happening now is neither equitable nor fair to citizens or public employees, including teachers, who look to their local leaders to lead. We need action from you, as do the people who have entrusted us to do what’s best for the community.
“The front lines of local government are where citizens reach first, and it’s where they are heard. This time, their cries to us are unprecedented to anything we’ve experienced. Simply put, Virginia’s campaign to vaccinate the masses is totally defective. On this issue, we have run out of patience and tolerance. Our citizens deserve better. They also deserve accountability as to what personnel or systems are responsible for the inordinate challenges that arise, almost daily.” — Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors
“It is clear that each health district is approaching this effort in an inconsistent manner, which is causing confusion and frustration across our region,” the letter says. “While we understand operational flexibility, this approach where each health district establishes its own policies is not serving our community well.” — Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
The county health department had administered 21,754 doses between Dec. 24 and Jan. 19, but that the average allotment of 10,000 doses a week “does not meet the demand nor the expectations of the 100,000 people we now have in the queue. We stand ready to expand our distribution to more eligible Fairfax County residents, should the commonwealth increase our vaccine supply.” — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay
Virginia’s “vaccine czar,” Danny Avula, points fingers at everyone except Governor Northam as he details why exactly the state’s distribution plan has gone so poorly. Avula explains they are waiting for Moderna and Pfizer to send more doses, meanwhile only 45% of vaccines on-hand had been distributed in Virginia as of Tuesday.
The list of vaccine troubles across the Commonwealth is expansive. Here are just a few examples of localities reeling from the Northam administration’s poor planning:
- “Effective Tuesday, Inova Health System canceled all first-dose appointments because its vaccines were being sent directly to health districts for administration. ‘As a result, Inova’s allocation of vaccine has been severely diminished, causing us to make the difficult decision to prioritize the available doses’ for second-dose appointments, according to a statement.”
- “In Prince William County, the city of Manassas and Manassas Park, there is an online waitlist application for vaccinations because appointments are booked through Feb. 15, according to the Prince William Health District.”
- “The city of Richmond and Henrico County health departments announced Monday that they expect only 6,400 doses per week, about a quarter of what they requested.”
“Instead of accepting responsibility for the total failure which is Virginia’s vaccine distribution, Governor Northam’s administration continues to point fingers at everyone but themselves. Plans for distributing vaccines should have been in place months ago, and meaningful action needs to happen to get Virginia back on track. Failed leadership has its consequences, and now Virginians sit frustrated and confused due to the incompetence of this administration.” — Kirk Cox for Governor Press Secretary Kristen Bennett