Nearly 70,000 doses of the newest vaccine approved for use in the nationwide battle against COVID-19 are coming to Virginia this week as an average of four local residents a day have died from the virus over the past week.
On average, two residents each of the city and county have died from the virus over the past week, according to Sunday data from the Virginia Department of Health.
A single-dose vaccine from pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson was approved on Saturday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, according to a Saturday press release from VDH.
This week, the commonwealth is anticipated to receive 96,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to VDH. The doses will be prioritized for use at mass vaccination clinics, and additional doses will be sent to CVS and Walgreens pharmacies.
The pharmacies are part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program and receive their doses directly from the federal government. Vaccinations at the pharmacies are only for residents 65 and older.
Residents eligible to receive a vaccine include health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, adults over the age of 65, child care providers and K-12 teachers, and workers in essential manufacturing, transit, grocery stores and the postal sector, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
Locally, at least 5,579 Rockingham County residents and 2,707 Harrisonburg residents were fully vaccinated as of Sunday, according to VDH data. At least 17,839 doses have been administered to county residents and at least 8,680 doses have been administered to city residents.
Over 1.26 million Virginians had been vaccinated at least once and 1.93 million doses administered as of Sunday, according to VDH data updated that day.
Before the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved, the only two types of vaccines available required two doses weeks apart. These are the vaccines from companies Moderna and Pfizer, which were also approved for emergency use by the FDA.
Over 15% of area deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in the past nine days, according to VDH data.
Between Feb. 20 and Sunday, 26 area residents died from the virus — 15 from the county and 11 from the city, according to VDH data.
In total, 92 county residents and 79 city residents have died from the virus since the first area death was recorded on April 11.
Though new cases have been declining since peaking a couple of weeks after the holiday season, they remain at elevated levels.
On Feb. 15, the state rolled out a central pre-registration system for those who want to be vaccinated, whether they are currently eligible or not.
Interested residents can fill out the online form at www.vaccinate.virginia.gov. Those without access to the internet or a computer can call 877-829-4682, or 877-VAX-IN-VA.
To pre-register for a vaccine at CVS, residents must go through the CVS system, which cannot be combined with the state’s due to CVS technical limitations.
Those interested in registering to receive a vaccine through CVS can go to the CVS website, use the CVS app and those without internet access can call (800) 746-7287, according to a previous interview with a CVS spokesperson.