Governor Justice: COVID vaccine expected by mid-December
CHARLESTON, WV – In his latest COVID-19 briefing Friday, Gov. Jim Justice joined state health experts and leaders with the West Virginia National Guard to provide an overview of the state’s initial allocation plan ahead of the upcoming arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Gov. Justice announced that the targeted receipt date for the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine – which was the first vaccine submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization – is Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.
However, the Governor pointed out that date is an estimate, dependent upon approval by the FDA, and subject to change.
The Governor announced that West Virginia plans to receive an initial allocation of approximately 60,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with a weekly ordering cap of about 16,000.
As for the Moderna vaccine – the second vaccine submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization – the targeted receipt date is expected about one week after the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine. West Virginia plans to receive an initial allocation of approximately 26,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, with a weekly ordering cap of about 3,000-5,000.
The Governor noted that West Virginia's vaccine allocation may increase through the end of 2020. Vaccine estimates for 2021 are not yet available.
There will be a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine when it first becomes available, so the vaccine will be distributed in phases, based on risk for contracting COVID-19.
In accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the first-available vaccine doses will be distributed to healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, individuals critical to community infrastructure and emergency response, public health officials, and first responders.
There are over 100,000 West Virginians who fall into these categories.
The initial allocation of vaccines will be distributed to five hub locations with ultra-cold storage in West Virginia in Berkeley, Cabell, Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties.
Gov. Justice also announced that the plan involves eventually scaling up distribution through additional providers in West Virginia. More than 500 potential sites have currently enrolled to help distribute vaccine doses, and the Governor said that he will be pushing for even more providers, pharmacies, and more to enroll as well.
The supply of vaccine doses will continually increase in the weeks and months to follow. The Governor said his goal is for West Virginians to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. When the vaccine is available in larger supply, it will become available to the general population.
The vaccines will require two doses. Gov. Justice added that it is extremely important to receive both doses of the vaccine because, if only one vaccine is received, immunity cannot be guaranteed.
The vaccines are not interchangeable, meaning if you receive the Pfizer product in the first shot, you need to receive Pfizer for the second shot.
Gov. Justice also noted that numbers are subject to change and will be updated on a regular basis in future COVID-19 briefings. The Governor will also announce any additional phases of distribution and additional groups that will receive the vaccine in future briefings.