How West Virginia is leading in COVID-19 vaccinations

Posted at 12:49 PM, Jan 29, 2021

More than 21 million people in the United States have now received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

West Virginia is one state that has been leading in total vaccine doses administered per capita since the beginning, and it continues to be on top.

We're looking at what other states can learn from West Virginia. This week, the state launched an online COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system.

The tool allows people in the state to say they want to be vaccinated. Then, they'll be notified to make an appointment when doses are ready for their priority group.

Early on, it opted out of the federal program to vaccinate people in nursing homes.

Independent pharmacies are part of the distribution effort, relying on their knowledge of the local community. One of them says so far, they haven't wasted a single dose.

"I've even driven to a patient's home because it was going to go to waste, she was 99 years old, her daughter said she was ready to go, so I hopped in my truck, drove across town and gave it to her in her house," said Heidi Romero with Griffith and Feil Drug.

Every week, vaccines are delivered to five hubs, then distributed by the National Guard throughout the state. They say they're ready to ramp up now, they just need more vaccine supply to do it.

"If truly today we had an unlimited supply of vaccine, I promise you beyond any doubt whatsoever, every single person in the third oldest state with the most chronic illnesses that are 65 and above, all of them all of them would have the vaccines in their arms by the 14th of February," said West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

More than 10% of people in West Virginia have received first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far.