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Governor Justice says ‘safe and effective’ COVID-19 vaccines are coming to West Virginia soon

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 12:06 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has given new details about the coronavirus vaccine.

The governor held a press conference on Friday.

According to Justice, the FDA’s independent advisory committee met Thursday and talked about Pfizer’s vaccine and will meet again to discuss Moderna’s. The FDA has not yet granted emergency authorization use for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Governor Justice says within 24 hours of approval, the federal government will send out shipments. Once West Virginia receives the vaccine, we will begin distribution within 24 hours.

Justice says the rollout of the vaccine will be challenging and will take a lot of work, but it will get done.

The Moderna vaccine total will be 32,600 doses. Pfizer will be 16,000, moving to 21,000 very quickly, according to Justice.

Pfizer will come out a week before Moderna.

He says the vaccines are safe and effective. They will be coming to West Virginia soon and officials are working to make sure the cost will not be a barrier.

New details on the allocation plans were released on Friday. A limited supply of vaccines will be received at first. Governor Justice says a team of experts is working to make sure the vaccines are available to West Virginians starting with those are at the highest risk. These plans are still being finalized.

There will be two phases of allocations:

  • Phase 1:
    • Hospital, long-term care, pharmacy
    • Community Infrastructure, Emergency Response, Public Health Officials, First Responders
    • Other Health Care
    • Teachers and Education and other sectors for critical services to State. Continuity of Government, Associations, Utilities, Transportation
  • Phase 2
    • General populace

They expect Phase 1 to take place between December through February. They believe Phase 2 will begin in March.

There will be limited supplies of the vaccine at first, so the vaccine will be distributed in phases based on risk. The supply will increase over time.

Additional phases and groups will be announced at a later date.

Secretary Bill Crouch with the DHHR announced effective immediately the state will no longer be offering the in-home Vault testing kit.

There are several reasons for this, one is the time lag from getting the results back. Given the fact a face-to-face interview must be done online, then the sample is mailed to the individual, then taken, then mailed back to the company, it’s resulting in longer lag times then they would like, according to Secretary Crouch.

Officials also looked at the cost of this and it’s on the upper end. It’s a high quality test.

Secretary Crouch says they will continue to use these kits but will be used in other formats and other places, rather than in home.

Justice also talked about the Mylan plant in Morgantown, which is part of Viatris Inc., closing. He says he has a scheduled call with the management team in hopes of to come up with an option to save the jobs that are expected to be lost.

The governor also addressed how Major League Baseball teams sent out invites to minor league teams to serve as affiliates earlier this week. Eleven teams were not given invites, including the WV Power. He says he’s standing ready to help in any way he can. He says his confident the Power will continue to be a fantastic partner and all of this will be worked out. Click here for our previous coverage.

This is a developing story.

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