RICHMOND, VA (STL.News) Governor Ralph Northam today announced that 70 percent of adults 18 years and older in the Commonwealth have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Virginia is the 16th state in the nation to meet this goal set by President Joe Biden in early May and reaches the key vaccination milestone two weeks ahead of the nationwide July 4 target. To date, over 8.8 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Virginia and more than 4.2 million individuals, or 60.3 percent of the population 18 and older, are fully vaccinated.
Governor Northam and state public health officials celebrated Virginia’s vaccination milestone during an event at Hope Pharmacy, a small, minority-, woman-owned pharmacy in Richmond.
“Virginia has reached a significant milestone in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Northam. “Thanks to the millions of Virginians who have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated, the virus is in retreat, our economy is growing, and we are closer to putting this pandemic behind us. A statewide effort has brought us to this point, with strong partnerships in our communities, health systems, the private sector, and across all levels of government. Even as we celebrate this tremendous achievement, we will continue working together to vaccinate everyone who is eligible so our Commonwealth can keep moving forward.”
Virginia continues to see a significant decline in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. New daily cases exceeded a seven-day moving average of 5,900 in early January and dropped under 250 by June 1. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 peaked in early January with a seven-day moving average above 2,600 and had decreased to nearly 500 by June 1. Deaths from COVID-19 reached a seven-day moving average of 83 in mid-January and fell below 7 by June 1. Additional data on COVID-19 and vaccination efforts in Virginia can be found on VDH’s data dashboards. As Virginia’s vaccination program proceeds, VDH will continue to monitor trends including vaccination uptake, COVID-19 variants, and outbreaks.
“We are deeply grateful to all those who have been vaccinated and to the vaccinators helping Virginia reach and surpass this milestone,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “There are still Virginians we need to reach and our efforts to make vaccination as accessible and as convenient as possible will continue. Those who have yet to get the vaccine are encouraged to do so to protect themselves and to keep others safe, particularly children under 12, people with weakened immune systems, or individuals who cannot be vaccinated for other reasons.”
Federal approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents aged 12 to 15 has made more than 400,000 additional Virginians eligible to get vaccinated, and about 30 percent of individuals in that age group have received the vaccine so far. VDH will continue working with school districts to make the vaccine available to students as the vaccination efforts shift from large-scale vaccination sites to health care providers, pharmacies, and mobile vaccine clinics.
“Virginia’s remarkable progress is a testament to the commitment, coordination, and leadership of our local health districts, community-based organizations, faith leaders, National Guard members, and so many others,” said Virginia Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny TK Avula. “While there is still work to do in addressing vaccine hesitancy, I remain confident that we can keep this momentum going and defeat this virus.”
“Reaching this goal shows that Virginians are serious about wanting this pandemic to end and wanting to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, MD. “This has been a team effort with Virginians, and we look forward to continuing to protect our communities.”
With increased vaccination rates, public health metrics trending in the right direction, and revised federal guidelines, Virginia ended all COVID-19 mitigation measures on May 28. The state of emergency that Governor Northam declared on March 12, 2020 in response to COVID-19 is set to expire on June 30.
Unvaccinated individuals and those who are not fully vaccinated should continue wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces in accordance with federal CDC guidance.
Virginians who have not been vaccinated yet are encouraged to go to vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1) to find a nearby vaccination clinic. For answers to frequently asked questions or to learn more about vaccination for COVID-19 in Virginia, visit vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine.