FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Virginia is centralizing COVID-19 appointments starting Tuesday after weeks of complaints about the vaccine system -- but not every county is on board.
Fairfax County -- unlike the rest of the state -- has decided to opt-out of the centralized system, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay said.
“We have a sophisticated system that we stood up, and my main goal here is to not further confuse people who are already confused and anxious," McKay said.
The Virginia Department of Health directed the other counties to shut down pre-registration Friday, so the department could merge and streamline data and re-open one registration system through the state Tuesday.
Until then, the VDH said pre-registration will be temporarily unavailable. The department also assured Virginians that whoever is already in the queue will be transferred over to the new system.
McKay said he wants to see how the state's rollout goes before Fairfax County commits to switching over.
“My concern is we’re midstream here. …We have hundreds of thousands of people registered on our system already," he said. "And frankly, people don’t care what system it is. They just want to get their shot…. If it turns out this is seamless, and it’s working for the rest of the state, then we will transition over to it.”
Fairfax County launched its own vaccine dashboard for registrations Friday. It includes information like how many doses the state delivered and how many people are currently on the waitlist.
The dashboard also shows how many of the doses have been administered. As of Saturday, the site says the county received 114,883 doses from the VDH and used 102,508 of them, which is 89% of the doses.
“All this talk about systems and registration frankly misses the whole point about what my challenge is," McKay said. "My challenge is I don’t have enough vaccines.”
McKay said they're expecting 16,000 doses this week, an increase of about 2,000 shots from the prior week.
“It’s going in the right direction, but… I’ve got well over 100,000 people on the waiting list, and about roughly half the county is eligible to be vaccinated," he said.
Half of Fairfax County's population, the largest county in Virginia, equates to more than half a million people.
Both Fairfax County and the VDH have said they will start sending out regular updates to those who have pre-registered, showing where they are on the waitlist for a vaccine.
McKay said the county plans to monitor the state's progress daily and then decide later if it wants to transition over to the centralized system.
He also said that Fairfax County is working with non-profits and community leaders to assuage vaccine hesitation that they’re still seeing.