Other states have begun to be more judicious about the number of allocated doses they draw down from the federal government, Mercer added, timing it with when they are needed rather than as soon as they are available.
“We’re starting to do this,” he said.
Avula said separately that the state would exert more control over how Virginia’s inventory is used, making sure vaccines are distributed where they can be immediately used.
Mercer said boosting the percentage of vaccines administered compared with those received is “100% the reason,” for doing so. “For the press, it’s almost an obsession with looking at that ranking that the CDC pulls,” he said.
Northam said coordination of supply and delivery is expected to improve under the new administration of President Joe Biden, which this week promised governors it would increase vaccine supply by 16% and keep it steady for the next month.
“Instead of being forced to operate week to week, we will now be able to plan out a month,” Northam said.
On Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Health issued guidance to local health districts to help them prioritize vaccine distribution. Local health departments are taking the lead vaccinating the second priority group, known as 1B, which includes people 65 and older, front-line essential workers and people with health conditions that put them at higher risk for severe illness.