W.Va. debuts online vaccine portal for appointments

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Joanna Rolfe of Ona, right, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Marshall University student nurse Angie Bush, left, as health care workers with the Cabell County EMS and Cabell-Huntington Health Department administer vaccines during a drive-thru clinic on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, outside of the St. Mary's School of Nursing in Huntington, WVa.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia is debuting an online portal for residents to register for coronavirus vaccine appointments.

Gov. Jim Justice says the new system that will help streamline vaccination efforts statewide launched Monday at www.vaccinate.wv.gov. The new website comes after complaints of long wait times to book a shot.

According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, West Virginia is the first state to deploy the new system through Everbridge, a company that helps states notify residents in emergencies such as a hurricane, flood or fire.

Residents who don’t want to or can’t go online to set up appointments can still call a vaccination information line at 1-833-734-0965. They also can be signed up through their local distribution location.

In West Virginia, 9.3% of the population has received one of the two doses from the vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. State data show more than 35,700 first doses were put in arms last week, exhausting the state’s stock of vaccines much faster than the rest of the nation.

In fact, the state posted on its online data dashboard that it has used 106.4% of its allocated first doses, noting that additional doses were found in vials. The vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech is known to have shipped with surprise extra doses.

Officials say they have the capacity to administer 120,000 shots a week if the federal government can ship more doses.

Over 40,200 people are fully immunized after receiving the vaccine’s two doses, which are spaced out by a few weeks. That’s 2.3% of the population.

Currently, all residents 65 and older and some essential workers, such as health care personnel and teachers, are eligible for shots, although the state currently does not have enough vaccine doses for all senior citizens.

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