Governor explains how West Virginia became a top state for Covid vaccine administration

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Monday touted the state’s coronavirus vaccine distribution technique, notably its emphasis on guaranteeing aged residents had been granted the best precedence.

“We don’t have vaccines in a warehouse sitting on a shelf,” Justice mentioned on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “Today, we have 100% of the vaccines that we’ve received … either in people’s arms or have a name tagged to the vaccination that they’re going to get and they’re going to get in the next couple of days. Now, what we need in West Virginia, we need more vaccines.”

West Virginia has among the best per capita vaccination charges within the nation, based on information compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state has vaccinated 5,376 individuals per 100,000 residents, as of noon Monday. That narrowly trails South Dakota’s 5,451 vaccinations per 100,000 residents, per CDC information.

According to the Bloomberg Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, West Virginia has administered 71.8% of the vaccine doses it is obtained. That ranks first among the many 50 states, based on Bloomberg, with North Dakota and South Dakota rating second and third at 68.3% and 64.9%, respectively. For the U.S. general, 36.5% of distributed doses have been administered, per Bloomberg.

Justice pointed to West Virginia’s vaccination program for hard-hit long-term care services as a key motive for the state’s administration fee. West Virginia leaned closely on its National Guard and a community of native pharmacies to manage the photographs, Justice defined. That allowed the state to get going final month earlier than the CDC’s federal vaccination program for long-term care services formally started.

“We’re first now to vaccinate all of our nursing home residents and staff, as well as our assisted living,” Justice mentioned.

The state has now arrange Covid vaccination websites for members of most of the people who’re 80 years previous and up. The vaccine is also being rolled out to Ok-12 academics and employees who’re 50 years previous and up. “This is all about age and age and age,” Justice mentioned, alluding to the disproportionate affect the coronavirus has had on older Americans. “That’s just all there is to it.”

Justice mentioned West Virginia was conscious of the logistical challenges vaccination distribution at this scale would current and on the identical time keenly conscious of the toll Covid was taking up its state.

“I said this to our National Guard and I said this to our leading medical experts, … ‘We’re going to awaken to the fact that we’re trying to develop a plan on how to give out the vaccines and while we’re developing a plan, people are dying, people are dying all over the place,'” Justice mentioned.

For that motive, he mentioned planning groups tried to maintain their technique easy. “If I would say, ‘How many cows are out there in that field? … Don’t count the legs and divide by four. Just count the cows,” Justice mentioned.

“We reacted to the fact that we would have vaccines sitting on the shelf,” he added. “And we reacted to the fact that age, age, age was driving this and these were the people that are dying, and we really aggressively got after it.”

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