Regional disparities. The Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 portal has added a statewide map showing where the most vaccine doses per capita have been administered. What stands out is that a significantly higher percentage of the population of western Virginia localities have received the vaccine. Click here to view the numbers for individual jurisdictions.
Washington County on the North Carolina border has administered 11,775 shots per 100,00 population. Surry County: only 2,881.
Question: Why the regional disparity? Why is rural/small town western Virginia faring so much better than metropolitan Virginia and Southside? Are western Virginia health districts getting more vaccines? Have they developed more efficient means of delivering the vaccine? It bears looking into.
Rebound or dead cat bounce? A few days ago, Bacon’s Rebellion highlighted the fact that Virginia ranked dead last among the 50 states in the Becker’s Hospital Review ranking of the states by percentage of vaccines vaccinated. I noted that any results should be viewed cautiously due to coding issues and reporting lags. Well, today Virginia has leaped up to a mere 27th worst in the country. Here’s the latest data:
Doses distributed to state: 1,172,375
Doses administered: 594,828
Percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered: 50.74
Hospitals deliver. Finally, there’s this from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association: Virginia’s hospitals had administered 317,837 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as of Tuesday. That represents roughly 84,000 doses over the week, a 35% increase.
Given the fact that hospitals have delivered roughly 53% of all COVID vaccines in Virginia, a question arises: How are rural counties with no hospitals doing better than the big metros with multiple hospitals? What delivery mechanisms are they using, and can other localities replicate their success?
Who will give the shots? One good thing I see happening is that retired doctors are being mobilized to give shots. I personally know two retired physicians who have signed up for the program. One of them tells me he has yet to be called upon, though. Is the number of shot-givers a bottleneck in administering the vaccine, or is the problem connecting the retired docs with the people who need the shots? We’ll keep our eye on this.