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State leaders urge White House to prioritize W.Va. in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2021 file photo a medical staff member prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech...
FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2021 file photo a medical staff member prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Tudor Ranch in Mecca, Calif. Democratic lawmakers are urging federal health officials to address racial disparity in vaccine access nationwide, as data from some states show hard-hit nonwhite Americans who are eligible to receive it are not getting COVID-19 vaccinations in proportion to their share of the population. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)(Jae C. Hong | AP)
Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 12:56 PM EST
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAZ) - Lawmakers from West Virginia have joined together to urge the Biden Administration to prioritize West Virginia in the next round of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

According to a press release from West Virginia Congresswoman Carol Miller (R-WV), she lead the letter addressed to Acting Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Norris Cochran and Acting Department of Defense Secretary David Norquist.

In the letter, Congresswoman Miller was joined by Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin as well as Reps. David McKinley and Alex Mooney. In it, leaders note West Virginia’s record for successful vaccine distribution and the high number of at-risk West Virginians as reasons for the request.

“West Virginia is leading the nation in COVID-19 vaccination distribution, making it a proven and commonsense choice for distribution prioritization,” said Congresswoman Miller. “Every successful vaccine brings us one step closer to defeating this virus. I urge the Biden Administration to prioritize West Virginia and our successful vaccine administration track record in its next round of distribution.”

“West Virginia is meeting the challenge to vaccinate our population,” said Senator Capito. “We have successfully established vaccination sites in every one of our 55 counties and also had the first online state vaccination registration system in the nation. Now that we have shown we have the capability and the infrastructure to rapidly administer doses and given our large elderly population, it is essential the Biden administration prioritize West Virginia for additional doses in the future rounds of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.”

“I thank the Biden Administration for the quick actions they have taken in the past week to increase vaccines across the country,” said Senator Manchin. “West Virginia continues to lead the nation in COVID-19 vaccinations, proving our state is prepared to receive an increase in the next COVID-19 vaccine distribution so our frontline workers, healthcare professionals and all West Virginians who want a vaccination can receive one as additional doses become available. As the state with the highest rate of people at-risk for complications from COVID-19, prioritizing the Mountain State in the next vaccine distribution just makes sense. I look forward to continuing to work with the Biden Administration as they work to improve vaccine supply and distribute additional doses for West Virginians.”

“West Virginia has shown what good planning and attention to detail can do,” said Congressman McKinley. “Our state and local leaders have created a plan that addresses the needs of West Virginians and we should not be penalized for it. Governor Justice has said if we can get the shots we can get them into arms. We are hoping that HHS will grant our request so more West Virginians can be vaccinated. Without mass vaccination we will never reopen this country.”

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