Vaccine to come by mid December

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) -After participating in a call with the White House Coronavirus Task Force earlier this week, Gov. Justice announced during Wednesday’s briefing that the first batch of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in West Virginia in mid-December.

The first batch of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive shortly thereafter. The Governor added that both vaccines require the recipient to take two doses, with the second dose approximately three to four weeks after the first dose.

Gov. Justice went on to discuss the state’s vaccine distribution plan, which has been in the works since August.

“We are ready the very second we receive doses of the vaccine in our state,” Gov. Justice said. “General Hoyer and the West Virginia National Guard are leading the charge on this. We’ve got it down pat. We’re ready to go, and we just hope and pray that more and more of this vaccine will be flowing into West Virginia.”

Gov. Justice also announced that he plans to issue an executive order next week to stand up the task force that will be responsible for coordinating vaccine distribution.

“The Governor has directed us to identify where we can best administer the initial vaccines – understanding that they will come in in small chunks – with a focus on mitigating fatalities, which means we will begin an initial focus in nursing home facilities since, as we know, 44 percent to almost 50 percent at times during this pandemic of our fatalities have come from those facilities,” Maj. Gen. Hoyer said in his remarks during Wednesday’s briefing. “Also, we will focus on maintaining the integrity of our healthcare system, particularly our acute care system. The Governor points out we are an exceptionally vulnerable population, even without the Coronavirus. We are in a time of the year when health systems continue to be worked to their maximum capacity to take care of our vulnerable citizens, exclusive of Coronavirus. So we will focus on those two areas, and based on his guidance and direction, we will be rolling out more information as we go forward.

“I want folks to understand that the Pfizer vaccine, it’s great that we will be getting it, but we need to understand that it is a complicated vaccine to distribute,” Hoyer continued. “It has environmental issues related to temperature, the doses have to be broken down once they come to the state of West Virginia, so a lot of work will need to be done to meet our objectives.

“It will be a whole-of-government and a whole-of-West Virginia approach. We will need everybody to help us and assist us going forward.”