- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The number of coronavirus vaccine shots that have been given in Virginia is ticking up, but the state is still falling short of its desired inoculation rate because too few vaccines are coming in, Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday.

“On average, we’re giving almost 34,000 shots per day,” the Democratic governor said at a news conference. “As you know, our goal is to be doing 50,000 shots a day. We have the infrastructure to do that - when we can get the supply.”

Virginia’s coronavirus dashboard showed Wednesday afternoon that more than 1.4 million doses have been administered. And there have been about 366,000 people who’ve been fully vaccinated. About 8.5 million people live in the state.

Northam pointed to a new, centralized website that went live Tuesday and has so far allowed 240,000 people to pre-register for the vaccine. The website is https://vaccinate.virginia.gov/. A call center for vaccine registrations went live on Wednesday. The number is 877-829-4682.

The governor stressed that the roughly 1.6 million who’ve already registered through local health departments don’t need to sign up again.



Northam said he’s signed legislation that will allow dentists, medical students and others to administer the vaccine. And he cited the Biden administration’s recent assurance that the vaccine supply to states is being pumped up.

“We will take every dose that we can get,” Northam said.

The number of new coronavirus cases has been on a steep decline in Virginia since early January. The state has reported a total of more than 550,000 cases, more than 23,000 hospitalizations and about 7,000 deaths.

The governor said cases need to continue to fall as the state develops a long-term plan for getting back to normal life. In the meantime, Northam said the number of spectators allowed at sporting events will rise to 250 starting Monday. He also said that children will be allowed to attend overnight summer camps this year.

Northam added that more school divisions are getting on board with his plans for schools to at least offer the option of in-person instruction to students by March 15. He said the state is still working with three of four school divisions on solutions to offer in-person instruction.

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