West Virginia pushing for more COVID-19 vaccines

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 7:22 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - West Virginia has been leading the nation in the percent of COVID-19 vaccines administered and has used up every dose it received by the end of the week, but the federal government has not increased its weekly shipments.

Gov. Jim Justice said he is doing everything he can to get more doses to the Mountain State, including talking with the White House COVID Czar, senators and congressmen. So far, West Virginia is only expected to get an additional 3,700 doses on top of the 23,600 it was scheduled to get next week.

“We thought we were going to be tremendously rewarded for doing this unbelievable job,” Justice said. “We have not been rewarded for all the great work we have done, except just one thing, and this is the only thing that should matter, is by doing the great work and not leaving them in a warehouse somewhere, we have saved a bunch of bunch of lives.”

Justice said the state can administer up to 125,000 doses per week if the federal government is able to give them that much. But every time he asks, he is told there is not enough supply.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said the two main vaccine producers, Pfizer and Moderna, would be increasing output, but distribution would still be based on population. Biden also said states will be given a three-week notice of how many doses they will receive to better to plan distribution.

“A lot of states couldn’t figure out what to do, and all of the sudden West Virginia did it,” Justice said about administering vaccines. “Now, most all of the states are doing what we did right off the get go. And so, with all of that, now you’ve got a situation to where states, whether it be New York or California or where ever it may be, all of the sudden even through they are no where close to being ramped up like we are.

“They still see a tremendous need for even more and more and more vaccines,” Justice continued. “So everyone is screaming the same things. ‘Send us more vaccines. Send us more vaccines.’ ”

Justice said the state has more than 100,000 people pre-registered for a vaccine through the new online system, and will begin vaccinating those people when vaccination clinics expand to all 55 counties next week.

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