West Virginia leads the way in COVID-19 vaccines

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – The national COVID-19 vaccine roll-out may be moving slower than what officials had hoped, but West Virginia still takes the lead.

Although the bad weather has delayed COVID-19 vaccinations in the past few weeks, WV still remains on top of the game, even doubling the rate of some other states in the distribution race. So far the state has rolled-out around 85-percent of its doses, and health officials are staying hopeful that with more vaccines, the more chances we have at beating COVID-19.

“We hope that more and more entities will get involved–be they pharmacies or other clinics– and they will be able to give doses as well,” says Mercer County Health Administrator Roger Topping. “Obviously, the more doses we can get in arms, the quicker we can get to this immunity.”

However, the overall race to conquer COVID-19 in the state hasn’t come without its challenges. Not only have the winter storms throughout the country affected and delayed vaccine distribution, but the number of deaths occurring throughout WV due to the virus has also been a major downfall. A total of 100 COVID-related deaths have been reported, many of which have been elderly people 65 years or older. And, while more deaths will likely occur, officials are hopeful that this rate will decrease.

“The overall numbers, while they’ve increased, it seems to me that the deaths have slowed down. They will obviously continue to mount, but not as a rapid pace as they have been,” Topping continues.

Regardless of the setbacks, WV continues to lead the way in the federal COVID-19 distribution program, and healthcare officials throughout the state stay hopeful and proud that we will keep pushing through.

“I’m not sure there was any other states that opted out of the federal program, but basically West Virginia led the way in vaccines throughout the entire U.S. I’m real proud of that,” says Stefanie Compton, Administrator of CEO Princeton Health Care Center.

As vaccine clinics continue their rapid distribution process throughout the state, we should be well on our way to complete immunity and hopefully the end of COVID-19 within the coming months to a year.