CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that all Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded health centers and look-alike health centers in West Virginia have been invited to participate in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program, which allows the 31 health centers in West Virginia to order COVID-19 vaccine doses directly from the federal government, increasing West Virginia’s overall dose allocation.
Additionally, West Virginia will receive an increase of 2,340 Pfizer doses, with the state receiving 53,820 first and second Pfizer doses, 38,600 first and second Moderna doses, and 3,300 Johnson & Johnson doses next week.
“Our health centers continue to provide vital healthcare services for West Virginians across the state, ensuring that every West Virginian has access to the healthcare they need and deserve during the COVID-19 pandemic. HRSA’s decision to invite all 31 HRSA funded health centers in the state to order COVID-19 vaccine doses directly from the federal government is wonderful news for the Mountain State,” said Senator Manchin.“In addition to allowing for health centers to order more doses, West Virginia will receive a total of over 95,000 doses next week. I am proud of the continued efforts across the state to provide vaccinations for every West Virginian who wants one, and I will continue working with our health centers to ensure they receive the support they need during this pandemic.”
“We are thrilled that all community health centers are now able to participate in HRSA’s Vaccine Program to receive shipments of COVID-19 vaccine directly,” said Sherri Ferrell, CEO of the West Virginia Primary Care Association. “The direct allocation of vaccine allows health centers to focus their efforts on vaccinating their patients ages 16 and older and ensure they receive other necessary health care services. Community Health Centers serve nearly 480,000 West Virginians, at 400 locations across the state, providing access and outreach to rural and vulnerable populations. Health centers have been a key partner in West Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccine success since December 2020, helping to vaccinate their patients and general public, alike. We applaud HRSA and our representatives’ continued trust and confidence in health centers being an essential part of our state’s COVID-19 response.”
“While the community vaccination clinics have been effective in reaching populations with access to transportation, it is vital that federally qualified health centers have vaccines available for their more vulnerable patients without reliable travel opportunities. In addition, some with access to vaccination sites have heard misinformation about vaccines but may be more willing to vaccinate after consultation with their family medical provider,” said Rick Simon, CEO, Community Care of WV.
“Change, Inc. has been on the front lines with COVID testing and administering vaccines for the community; however, our patient footprint extends beyond our WV state border. This has created difficulty with hand selecting who can have the vaccine and who cannot based on their address. We serve the most vulnerable population throughout the Ohio Valley. We have three main sites and 10 School-Based Health Centers. Having access to direct federal vaccines will allow us to administer vaccines to all we serve,” said Judy Raveaux, CEO, CHANGE, INC.
“With the availability of vaccines through the Federal program, health centers are able to better plan vaccinating vulnerable populations such as those who are homebound, homeless, and that may have other things going on that make it difficult to vaccinate at the county vaccine events that have been going on in recent months. We are grateful that our government representatives and HRSA have confidence in health centers to complete this important work,” said Kristi Atha-Rader, CEO, Rainelle Medical Center.
In February, two health center systems in West Virginia were selected to receive direct COVID-19 vaccine dose shipments through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Vaccination Program.
In March, nine more health center systems in West Virginia were selected to receive direct COVID-19 vaccine dose shipments through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Vaccination Program.