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Gov. Justice outlines plans for COVID vaccine allocation

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Gov. Jim Justice

CHARLESTON, WV – During his daily COVID-19 briefing Friday, Gov. Jim Justice provided new details on the different phases of the state’s vaccine allocation plan.

“We will get a limited supply of vaccines at first, so our team of experts are still finalizing the plan to make sure that the vaccines are available to all West Virginians, starting with those who are at the highest risk,” Gov. Justice said.

The Governor explained that there will be two main phases of vaccine allocation. Phase 1 will include those at the highest risk of serious complications from COVID-19, as well as individuals who are essential frontline workers fighting this pandemic. Phase 2 is the general population.

Phase 1 is broken down into four subsections: Phase 1-A through Phase 1-D:

Phase 1-A includes hospital, long-term care facility and staff, and pharmacies

Phase 1-B includes community infrastructure and emergency response, public health officials, and first responders

Phase 1-C includes other healthcare workers, like home health providers

Phase 1-D includes 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

“We are planning to offer vaccines to all individuals identified in Phase 1-A through Phase 1-D within the first six weeks, based on our allocation of vaccines,” Gov. Justice said. “As our allocation increases and distribution occurs, we may be able to move through the phases more quickly.

“In Phase 2, which is the general population, we will place initial emphasis on our most vulnerable in the general population based on guidance from the CDC,” Gov. Justice continued.

The FDA’s independent advisory committee met Thursday to discuss Pfizer’s request for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). While the committee voted in favor of recommending that the FDA approve the EUA, that final step has not been taken yet, meaning that the FDA has not yet granted authorization for emergency use for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

However, the Governor said, within 24 hours of that final approval taking place, the federal government is expected to begin distributing vaccines to the states.

Once West Virginia receives the vaccine, in-state distribution will begin within 24 hours.

“The rollout of our COVID-19 vaccination program will be challenging,” Gov. Justice said. “It will take a lot of work. But without any question, between the National Guard and all the players that are working with them, we’ll get this done.”

Meanwhile on Friday, members of the West Virginia Joint Interagency Task Force for Vaccines held a Rehearsal of Concepts (ROC) drill at the WVNG Joint Forces Headquarters in Charleston to finalize operational plans for and to simulate COVID-19 vaccine shipment receipt, handling, and distribution processes to Phase 1 recipients across the Mountain State.

The Governor also announced that, Friday, the state would be placing its initial order for the 32,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine; the maximum ordering cap allowed for West Virginia at this time.

The FDA independent advisory committee will meet again next Thursday, Dec. 17, to discuss Moderna’s request for Emergency Use Authorization.