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Arlington Joins Neighbors in Asking for More Vaccine Supply

A vial of the COVID-19 vaccine (DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II)

Arlington County has the capacity to administer 14,000 vaccine doses per week, but has been getting at most 8,000 doses per week from the state.

That’s according to a letter sent to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam from the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, which represents Arlington and other local government in the region. The letter asks the governor to send Northern Virginia localities more doses to quicken the pace of vaccinations.

“We have assembled the capacity to administer many more doses of coronavirus vaccine than we are currently administering,” the commission’s letter says. “With additional doses allocated to our health districts immediately, we can put that capacity to work to quickly assist the Commonwealth in achieving its vaccination and equity goals.”

The letter notes that Arlington has over 28,000 people who meet current Virginia’s Phase 1A and 1B guidelines waiting for their vaccinations to be scheduled. Meanwhile, the state announced last week that some health districts — including less populated areas where there is less vaccine demand — would begin transitioning to Phase 1C.

“Each of our health districts have waiting lists for vaccines for individuals in the 1A and 1B categories that far outstrip the supply we have received to date,” the letter says. “We stand ready to meet your expectation that everyone, even those who have not yet registered, will have a place in line six weeks from now, but we will need more doses immediately to make that reality.”

As of Tuesday morning, 24,690 people in Arlington — 10.4% of the county’s population — have been fully vaccinated, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data. In all, just under 67,000 doses have been administered in Arlington, at a trailing seven-day average rate of 1,372 doses per day. That figure includes doses administered by pharmacies and other private entities.

County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said the county is also seeking more autonomy from the state to make decisions about vaccination priorities.

“We hope that the Governor will respond to the NVRC’s request to increase Northern Virginia’s vaccine supply, and to allow our Health Directors greater discretion to make decisions about how we administer the vaccine to our residents going forward,” de Ferranti said in a statement. “We have the capacity and the demonstrated commitment to vaccinating our community as quickly and equitably as possible.”

Arlington’s Congressman, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), also weighed in, tweeting his support Monday for more vaccine doses.

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