Virginia cuts off vaccine supply to hospitals despite state’s own failure to hand out vaccine

Virginia cuts off vaccine supply to hospitals despite state’s own failure to hand out vaccine
Former Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam (Image: Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia failed to administer most of the COVID-19 vaccine it has received, and now, the state is making things worse, by preventing hospitals that were vaccinating lots of people from continuing to do so. Thousands of people have had their appointment to get vaccinated canceled as a result of the decision by Governor Northam’s administration to cut off hospitals starting January 26.

“As of yesterday, Virginia was dead last in administration of the vaccines it has already received. Number fifty out of fifty states. Or, number 52 out of 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.” On January 25, Virginia had given out a mere 42.22% of the vaccines it received, noted DJ Rippert at the public-policy website Bacon’s Rebellion. By contrast, West Virginia and North Dakota have administered well over 80% of the vaccines they received.

Jeanine Martin notes that the administration of Governor Ralph Northam has cut “off hospitals’ supply of COVID-19 vaccine,” forcing the cancellation of “thousands” of appointments to get the vaccine. Writing at The Bull Elephant, she notes that hospitals that gave out the vaccine “all day every day” are being cut off so that local health departments that were closed on weekends and after hours can control the supply.

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Governor Northam insists on controlling our lives, now including when and where we may receive the COVID vaccine.

As of tomorrow, hospitals in Virginia will no longer be able to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Thousands of elderly people are having their vaccine appointments canceled. From now on, all COVID-19 vaccines will go to the local health departments and none directly to hospitals.

Virginia Hospital Center had been running clinics all day every day to give people the vaccine. Appointments there for all 1st dose vaccines have been canceled because the hospital will no longer be able to get the vaccines.

Northam’s health department has also forbidden people from crossing county lines to get the vaccine. If the county next to you has an abundance of the vaccine, you can’t get it. Only residents of that county may get their vaccine.

These new rules will result in many people either having their vaccination appointment canceled or delayed for months. Currently, 7.5 million people in Virginia, Maryland, and DC qualify to get the vaccine, if only they had access to it. The new rules limit the options citizens have for getting the shot. Everyone MUST go through their local health department to be vaccinated. That means in a county such as Loudoun, with a population of over 420,000, and two health department locations to receive the vaccine, will continue to inoculate 400 to 900 people a day. There are no other options. The Loudoun health department has said they are trying to open a third location for vaccinations (possibly at Dulles Town Center) but that could take months. If Loudoun continues at its current pace it will take well over a year for the local health department to inoculate all those who want vaccines. If Loudoun hospitals were allowed to open clinics for vaccines, many more people could be inoculated every day but the Northam administration will not permit it.

Professor Tyler Cowen earlier noted that the “supposedly vaccinating Fairfax County Health Dept. on Main St.” had been closed on the weekend.

Because Virginia has failed to administer the doses of the vaccine it already received from the federal government, it is not doing this to cope with a shortage. The only “shortage” is the one created by the state of Virginia itself, through its decision to cut off the supply of the vaccine to hospitals.

This reality was deceptively omitted in misleading coverage by the liberal Washington Post, which endorsed Virginia’s progressive governor.

It covered the cancellation of appointments in a news article titled, “Coronavirus vaccination appointments canceled in D.C. region as health officials confront scarce supply.”

That title was misleading, because Virginia “health officials” are creating that “scarce supply” for hospitals, not confronting or coping with it. Indeed, more than half the supply of the vaccine they received has not even been used.

As the Washington Post noted, “Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington on Friday canceled 10,000 vaccination appointments, citing” a “change in the state’s allocation system.” As it observed, “providers across the Washington region scrambled to compensate for a limited supply of vaccine doses.” But in Virginia, that’s because state health officials cut off the hospitals.

The Post claims the cancellations are a sign of “the difficulty” that “health departments face in balancing the ballooning eligibility pools while not having enough vaccine to go around.”

But that’s not true in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health has not used up its vaccine, or even half of it. At Bacon’s Rebellion, James Sherlock criticizes Virginia Health Commissioner Norman Oliver for this situation, chalking it up to incompetence.

But the Washington Post never even asks why Virginia has administered so much smaller a fraction of the vaccine it received than neighboring West Virginia, even though West Virginia faced bigger challenges, because it is poorer and has worse health infrastructure.

That’s probably because The Post hates depicting liberal officials negatively, and Governor Northam is a “progressive.” As Snopes notes, the Washington Post recently doctored a past news story to “remove” material that depicted progressive Vice President “Kamala Harris in a bad light.” It surreptitiously “updated” an article “to remove a quote from Kamala Harris that presented her in an unflattering light.”

Virginia is quite unlike neighboring West Virginia, which anticipates rapidly using up all the doses it received, and thus has urgently requested “more vaccines.”

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Contact him at


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