Virginia becomes 16th state to reach 70% of adults with one vaccine; local health experts optimistic


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia has reached a huge milestone on the road to herd immunity, with 70% of adults receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

This is two weeks ahead of President Joe Biden’s nationwide goal.

“Every person who has stepped up and gotten your shot, you have made yourself and your neighbors safer,” said Governor Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia. “You have allowed us to get back toward a more normal life. You have made a difference.”

Northam made the announcement at a Richmond-area pharmacy this morning. He says places like grocery stores and pharmacies made a big difference in getting shots in arms.

“We needed to meet people where they lived, we needed to bring the vaccines into communities,” said Northam.

State Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula says the announcement is good news, but he’s hoping to see more people roll up their sleeves, especially looking toward the fall.

“Ensuring that we continue to get people vaccinated, we limit the number of people who can actually, who are still susceptible to COVID is really important, so that when we see more disease spreading in the fall and winter, that we don’t see the setbacks that we had last year,” said Avula.

Avula says so far, the vaccines seem to be working against the Delta variant, which he believes will become the dominant strain in the U.S. soon.

Dr. Cynthia Romero, who served on the state level and is now at EVMS as the Director of the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health, says this is the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Reaching that milestone means that we are in a position now to see the hope that we’ll be able to be as safe as possible to relax a lot of the guidelines wearing masks, distancing, cleaning, and to be able back to a new sense of normalcy,” Romero said.

She hopes more people get vaccinated to truly beat COVID-19.

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