'We continue to lead the nation.' In West Virginia, Covid-19 vaccinations are nearly double the national rate

CNN's Miguel Marquez explains what West Virginia is doing right with its vaccine roll out program as new Covid-19 variants emerge in the US and other states continue to struggle with vaccinating citizens.

Posted: Jan 28, 2021 4:39 PM


More than 9% of people in West Virginia have received at least their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to data published Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, that number stands at less than 6%.

"We continue to lead the nation," Gov. Jim Justice said in a news conference Monday.

The governor's announcement comes amid continued struggles with vaccine rollouts across the US. States are still working to ramp up their administrations with the help of mass vaccination sites and volunteer vaccinators, while others say they're running out of supply and have appealed to the federal government for more doses.

West Virginia is second in the nation in terms of vaccines administered per capita and share of distributed doses that have been administered, according to CDC data, and has often led the nation in these metrics. The state has so far administered about 106% of the doses it has officially received, Justice said.

"This is a hard number to believe," the governor said. "We're getting more doses out of the vials than what they really anticipated."

The state has added a sixth syringe to ancillary kit packs, said Jim Hoyer, director of the state's interagency coronavirus task force.

"It is not every single vial that you get the extra dose, but we are getting enough, as the governor pointed out, that this is making a significant impact," he said.

The latest CDC data shows West Virginia has administered about 84% of the doses it's received -- but the agency has previously said its data may be a few days behind. Nationally, the rate of administration is at about 55%.

State broke from federal plan early on

Addressing senior residents during his news conference, the governor added that the state may have saved "a thousand, 10 thousand, twenty thousand" lives because of its decision to move older residents higher in its priority list.

Many seniors "had lost hope because they knew they couldn't get a vaccine shot really and truly until probably April," Justice said. "Well, it's January."

And so far, West Virginia has vaccinated nearly 74,000 people 65 and older, he said.

"We were told, and we were given models by the federal government that, really, basically said we can't get to you probably until April. But we didn't follow that model," he said.

Earlier this month, the state announced a program prioritizing the vaccinations of older residents against the virus, in an operation dubbed "Save our Wisdom."

That plan came about a week before federal leaders asked states to move people 65 and older to the front of the line, along with people with high-risk conditions. The state also opted out of a federal partnership to administer vaccines to long-term care residents and staff, working instead with local pharmacies.

And Justice is hopeful West Virginia can keep its vaccination momentum up.

Starting next week, he said vaccination clinics will be available in all 55 counties.

"They will receive a number of vaccine doses based on population," the governor said. "This will make sure that our limited supply of Covid vaccines are reaching every corner of our state."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4852216

Reported Deaths: 71350
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148510526549
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3678574183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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