FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 7, 2022
Logan Anderson, VDH PIO, email@example.com
Governor Glenn Youngkin Announces More Than Seven Million Virginians Have Received One Dose of a COVID-19 Vaccine
(RICHMOND, Va.) — Governor Glenn Youngkin announced today that more than seven million Virginians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) launched the state’s vaccination campaign in late December 2020. VDH reached this vaccination milestone as we celebrate National Public Health Week.
That figure of 7,000,752 represents 81.5% of Virginia’s total population of 8,590,563 people and 92.4% of the adult population of 6,724,143 Virginians 18 years of age and older. Of those, 2,938,260 Virginians have received their recommended booster or third dose of vaccine.
“Over seven million Virginians have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose, an incredible milestone in our path towards normalcy and demonstrates that Virginia is leading in the fight against COVID-19, once again. I will continue to encourage everyone to get the vaccine, as it’s the best method to prevent serious illness from the virus,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “While I’ve been a strong advocate of getting the vaccine and boosters, I will not mandate it. I’m pleased that over 80% of Virginians have made an individual decision to get the vaccine.”
“As we celebrate Public Health week in Virginia, it’s important to not just recognize the commitment of our public health workers, but also to acknowledge that public health must be a community-wide focus. COVID-19 made that very clear and today’s vaccine achievement is the result of collaboration among public health and other healthcare workers, community groups, pastors and many others. As we look forward to tackling other health and wellness challenges, those partnerships will be the driver of success.” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel.
“This represents yet another victory in our fight against COVID-19. By allowing for extensive protection against hospitalization and death from the virus, this achievement paves the way for the continued return of our daily lives to normalcy. We could not have reached this milestone without the combined efforts of VDH employees, healthcare workers, and a host of community volunteers that continue to make vaccination against COVID-19 readily available,” said Acting State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “As we recognize this week as National Public Health Week, our vaccination efforts illustrate the power of public health and community partnerships to make a difference and save lives.”
“Reaching the point of having seven million Virginians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is a huge accomplishment,” said State Vaccination Coordinator Christy Gray, MPH, who’s also the director of the Division of Immunization in VDH’s Office of Epidemiology. “We couldn’t have done it without the hard work of the more than 3,500 VDH employees and of our partners across the state: pharmacies, physicians’ offices, hospitals, long term care facilities, and numerous community partners helping to take the vaccination message to the public. Our vaccination campaign is a triumph of the entire community against this virus.”
On December 15, 2020, Sentara Healthcare employee Yolanda Dumas in Hampton Roads became the first Virginian to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave its approval to the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) administration of the the mRNA vaccine. At the beginning of the vaccination campaign, frontline healthcare personnel and people living in long term care facilities were prioritized for vaccination.
In phased rollouts, other groups of individuals became eligible for vaccination in early 2021: persons ages 65 years and older; persons 16-64 years old with certain underlying conditions; frontline essential workers such as police, fire and emergency medical personnel, teachers, and grocery and manufacturing workers; and other workers in sectors essential to the functioning of society.
VDH has employed a number of different strategies to reach people in its vaccination campaign including:
- Vaccinate Virginia: A statewide call center (877-VAX-IN-VA) and website (Vaccinate.Virginia.gov) were established for Virginians to register for notification of vaccination appointments. Public awareness campaigns have been conducted across media platforms, including print, broadcast, and digital.
- Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs): The state set up large-scale vaccination centers across Virginia that administered hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses.
- Community Partnerships: Local health districts across the commonwealth developed partnerships with organizations throughout their coverage areas to get vaccines to hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations through mobile clinics, vaccination events at churches and community centers, and, in some cases, taking vaccination directly to homebound individuals.
Pharmacies, both those participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program and partnered with local health districts, have delivered more than seven million vaccine doses to Virginians, out of the more than 15 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses administered thus far in Virginia. Local health departments have administered more than 2.6 million doses, followed by medical practices (1.9 million), other community health providers (1.7 million), and hospitals (1.35 million).
VDH’s vaccination campaign continues today with hyper-targeted outreach to unvaccinated Virginians in rural areas of the state, persons hesitant to be vaccinated, and persons in need of boosters to be up to date on their vaccinations.
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To find a free vaccine or booster near you, visit Vaccinate.Virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages.