by Brandon Jarvis

Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday morning that 70% of Virginians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a noteworthy milestone due to President Biden setting this as the goal for the entire country to reach by July 4.

“Thanks to the millions of Virginians who have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated, the virus is in retreat, our economy is growing, and we are closer to putting this pandemic behind us,” the governor said in the announcement.

The United States is currently not on pace to meet the goal set by Biden — though it will be close. Back at the beginning of this year when the vaccines were first being released, Virginia was one of the worst states in the country for distributing vaccines — now the commonwealth is reaching milestones early. “A statewide effort has brought us to this point, with strong partnerships in our communities, health systems, the private sector, and across all levels of government,” Northam said.

Virginia has seen a significant decline in new COVID-19 cases in recent months. New daily cases exceeded a seven-day moving average of 5,900 in early January and dropped to less than 250 by June 1. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 peaked in early January with a seven-day moving average above 2,600 and that number decreased to nearly 500 by June 1. Deaths from COVID-19 reached a seven-day moving average of 83 in mid-January and fell below 7 by June 1.

“There are still Virginians we need to reach and our efforts to make vaccination as accessible and as convenient as possible will continue,” said State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver. “Those who have yet to get the vaccine are encouraged to do so to protect themselves and to keep others safe, particularly children under 12, people with weakened immune systems, or individuals who cannot be vaccinated for other reasons.”

30 percent of adolescents from 12-15 years old have been vaccinated since it was authorized for that age group in May.

“Virginia’s remarkable progress is a testament to the commitment, coordination, and leadership of our local health districts, community-based organizations, faith leaders, National Guard members, and so many others,” said Virginia Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny TK Avula. “While there is still work to do in addressing vaccine hesitancy, I remain confident that we can keep this momentum going and defeat this virus.”

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By vascope