Has the COVID-19 vaccine been distributed equally in West Virginia?

West Virginia

JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — In his latest COVID briefing, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced the launch of the new vaccine summary tab on the Department of Health and Human Resources COVID Dashboard.

According to the CDC, West Virginia has administered over 91 percent of the vaccines it has been distributed, but people in some of the state’s counties do not believe those vaccines have been equally distributed in the first place.

Dr. Terrence Reidy is the Chief Health Officer of Jefferson County. He recently checked the DHHR’s new statistics and found that his county fell on the lower end as compared to larger, more

“And so there hasn’t been a completely equal distribution. In January, there were several weeks where only the larger counties, the hubs, received vaccines, that the other counties did not. But that stopped after a few weeks,” Dr. Reidy explained.

According to the WV DHHR website, Jefferson County only reported 8.6 percent of the population has been vaccinated. Whereas in Kanawha County, 30.8 percent of their population has received the vaccine.

Retired Maj. General Jim Hoyer explained that the vaccines have been distributed across the state based on population of statistics like health care workers and at risk residents.

“Just take for example nursing home population. I think in Jefferson County the nursing home population is around 220 folks,” Hoyer explained. “Versus Kanawha County where the nursing home population is over a thousand almost eleven hundred. So as you can see early on, by focusing on populations, we are certainly going to have differences.”

The website tab on the West Virginia DHHR COVID dashboard that details the vaccine distribution across the state was only made available to the public on Wednesday.

Dr. Terrence Reidy also explained that the data could have taken time to compile as there are different agencies distributing and administering the vaccines across the state.

“Also a lot of the vaccines are being given by a lot of different partners and getting them in the system. So something that we are hoping for and we are glad to see it,” Dr. Reidy stated. “It’ll take a little time to get the numbers all right and be sure we have looked at them properly but it is good to see where things stand so people don’t feel like they’re being left behind.”

To find the vaccine distribution statistics and other information on West Virginia’s COVID-19 metrics, please visit the state DHHR website.

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