RICHMOND, Virginia – Dr Danny Avula, who oversaw Virginia’s vaccination efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, has resigned from his post.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Avula, who was appointed state immunization coordinator a year ago, said he had taken on other responsibilities within the Virginia Department of Health and had resumed his role as director of the health districts of Richmond City and Henrico County. Avula said the job change was her decision.
Christy Gray, director of the vaccination division of the Virginia Department of Health, will now oversee vaccinations in Virginia.
When Avula was approached by Governor Ralph Northam to lead the vaccination effort, he made a three-month commitment. Avula said he ended up staying a lot longer and started quitting his role in the fall. Most recently, he assumed the title of National Immunization Liaison, focusing on partner development and media relations.
A year ago, Virginia was behind other states in vaccine distribution. Now Virginia is ranked ninth in percentage of fully immunized residents.
“I think Virginia has done a phenomenal job – our vaccination numbers certainly back it up,” Avula said. “I would love to see higher numbers in our pediatric population, and I think the presence of omicron will lead to greater adoption there.”
As of Thursday, 5.8 million Virginians had been fully vaccinated, or 68%. Among them, 2 million received a recall.
Of children aged 5 to 11, 33% received at least one dose and 71% of adolescents aged 12 to 15 did so.
Avula’s job change was never announced by the Department of Health or Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration.
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