West Virginia Governor Jim Justice praised the success of distributing coronavirus vaccines in his state, claiming that if the mountain state had the “Valentine’s Day doses,” everyone in that state, 65 years of age and older, would be vaccinated.
West Virginia has spent the past three weeks as the number one or number two state in the nation for vaccination doses per capita, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 Vaccination Tracker. The state also has an administration rate for the first dose of 95.2% and a vaccination rate for the second dose of 46.8%. This is based on vaccine data released on West Virginia’s Covid-19 dashboard on Wednesday.
Justice broke his state’s “all-in” approach to spreading the Covid vaccine in CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith”.
“We didn’t necessarily take the federal approach, we took a practical approach and we took an all-in approach,” Justice said during an interview on Wednesday evening. “We brought our National Guard, our local pharmacies, our local health workers, our local health clinics and everything.”
Justice added that the West Virginia model “is not rocket science, it just moves and doesn’t sit back and plan a strategy”.
However, vaccine adoption remains slower than expected in several states in the country. Wisconsin, for example, has lagged behind, handing out only 42.5% of its Covid vaccine doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Governor Tony Evers described the introduction of the state vaccine as “a bit bumpy”. Evers said his state did not get enough vaccines from the federal government and those who give vaccines needed more time to prepare.
West Virginia has delivered nearly 12,000 doses, 77% of their dose coverage. The judiciary emphasized the importance of putting older Americans at the forefront of a vaccination strategy.
“We just saw it that way and it was age and age and age and we knew we had to move,” Justice said. “We didn’t want vaccines on a shelf, we needed them in people’s arms.”
January 2021 is already the worst month in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic began, with more than 79,000 deaths, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data. It’s a grim milestone that has broken the December record by more than a thousand deaths.