West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice lauded his state’s coronavirus vaccine distribution success, and claimed that if the Mountain State had the “doses by Valentine’s Day, every person in this state, 65 years of age and older, would be vaccinated.”
West Virginia has spent the past three weeks as either the number one or number two state in the nation for vaccine doses administered per capita, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 Vaccination Tracker. The state also boasts a first dose administration rate of 95.2% and a second dose vaccination rate of 46.8%, according to vaccine data posted to West Virginia’s Covid-19 dashboard Wednesday.
Justice broke down his state’s “all in” approach for distributing the Covid vaccine on 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 a Wednesday evening interview. “We brought our National Guard, our local pharmacies, our local health care people, and our local health clinics and everything.”
Justice added that the West Virginia model “isn’t rocket science, this is just about moving and not sitting back and planning a strategy.”
The vaccine rollout remains slower than expected, however, in multiple states across the country. Wisconsin, for example, has been lagging behind and has only distributed 42.5% of its Covid vaccine doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gov. Tony Evers called the state’s vaccine rollout “a little bumpy.” Evers said his state didn’t receive enough vaccines from the federal government and that those administering vaccines needed more time to prepare.
West Virginia has administered nearly 12,000 doses, 77% of their dose supply. Justice underscored the importance of placing older Americans at the forefront of a vaccination strategy.
“We looked at this just one way, and it was age and age, and age, and we knew we had to move,” Justice said. “We didn’t want vaccines sitting on a shelf, we needed them in people’s arms.”
January 2021 already ranks as the worst month on record in the U.S. since the coronavirus pandemic began with more than 79,000 fatalities, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data. It marks a grim milestone that surpassed the December’s record by more than a thousand deaths.