The first doses of of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in West Virginia on Monday, December 14 at two “hub” locations in Kanawha and Monongalia counties.
Governor Jim Justice was one of the first state residents to receive the vaccine on Monday afternoon.
“I cannot express how incredible of an achievement this has been,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s unbelievable. We’re ready, in West Virginia, to show the rest of the country just how good we are and how great we are able to perform.”
Pfizer’s vaccine received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA on Friday, December 11. Vaccines began being shipped to states on Sunday morning, the governor’s office said.
Vaccine deliveries in West Virginia included over 10,000 doses at the two hub locations.
According to the governor’s office, by Monday evening, the Kanawha County site – which is slated to distribute the vaccine to 19 different medical facilities in the region – had already delivered to 17 facilities.
The Monongalia County site – which will distribute the vaccine to 19 different medical facilities in its region – had already delivered to 10 facilities.
“Those hubs are processing vaccines for additional distribution to other sites in their regions of the hub. At this time things continue to move along smoothly,” said West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, who is leading the state’s vaccine distribution efforts. “I appreciate the work of all the agencies in the Joint Interagency Task Force and the outside organizations, such as the West Virginia Hospital Association and the West Virginia Health Care Association representing the long-term care and assisted living facilities. This is not just a whole-of-government approach, this is a whole-of-West Virginia approach.
“I also greatly appreciate the work that goes on particularly from our counterparts over at the DHHR,” Maj. Gen. Hoyer continued. “It is a team effort and we’re making great progress.”
Additional deliveries are planned at the remaining hubs in Berkeley, Cabell, and Greenbrier counties. The state should have received its entire weekly dosage allotment of 16,575 – the maximum allowed for West Virginia – by Tuesday.
“If you are receiving doses from this first shipment, you will be contacted by your employer on where and when to schedule your appointments,” Gov. Justice said. “By working with our partners, we will take care of those in our nursing homes and long-term care facilities. We have incredible partners from various organizations working with us across the state to make this happen.”
Approximately 60,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine is expected to be delivered to West Virginia over the next several weeks. State leaders have said they plan to continue scaling up distribution with other vaccines like the Moderna vaccine, which is also expected to arrive in the weeks ahead.
“We’re going as fast as we can to get people vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said.
Gov. Justice, members of the state’s pandemic leadership team, and several healthcare workers from across West Virginia were all vaccinated live on-air during another virtual address late Monday afternoon.
“This is a historic day in our country,” Gov. Justice said. “This is an accomplishment that’s unbelievable: to be able to get out a vaccine, and get it out this quickly, get it through the FDA, with all the fine print approval to be able to start administering these vaccines.”
The Governor announced that the very first COVID-19 vaccines administered in West Virginia were at Thomas Health in South Charleston.
Joining the Governor in receiving the vaccine were WVNG Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh, DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch, State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad.
Plan for distribution
“With our limited supply at first, our planning and decision-making is based on four key principles: reduce the rate of hospitalizations, reduce the rate of deaths, protect our most vulnerable, and ensure our state can maintain critical services,” Gov. Justice said.
Phase 1 of vaccine distribution includes those at the highest risk of serious complications from COVID-19 and essential frontline workers.
The four subsections of Phase 1 include the following personnel:
Phase 1-A: Hospital, long-term care facility and staff, and pharmacies.
Phase 1-B: Community infrastructure and emergency response, public health officials, and first responders.
Phase 1-C: Other healthcare workers, like home health providers.
Phase 1-D: Teachers and education staff in higher education and K-12 and other sectors for critical services for our state, such as utility and transportation workers.
More detailed information about the distribution plan for the COVID vaccine can be found on the state’s COVID-19 information site.