CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice and healthcare officials say the state may finish its plan to offer COVID-19 vaccination to all long-term care facilities in the state by the end of the day Monday.
Justice confirmed during his coronavirus press briefing that officials will have been at the 214 nursing homes and long term care facilities in West Virginia to offer the vaccine to residents and staff, by the end of the day.
“That’s a one hundred percent of our long-term care facilities that we will have offered the vaccine to in our state and before other states have even gotten started,” Justice said.
Marty Wright, CEO of the West Virginia Health Care Association appeared on Monday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ said there are still a number of facilities receiving the vaccine Monday as part of its “aggressive plan” that had an initial deadline of 30 days. Health officials began distributing the vaccine around 14 days ago.
Wright said the plan had to be aggressive because of the impact the virus has had on nursing homes.
During Justice’s press briefing Monday, state coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh shed light on the elder population being affected by the virus. He stated that the group of 70 years and older make up 77.5% of people who have died from COVID-19 in West Virginia.
Marsh added that people aged 75 years and older have a 220-630 times risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to 18-39-year-old age group.
“These are two dose regimens so we still have a span of another three weeks to go and four weeks to go to get that second dose,” Wright said. “The quicker we can get people that first dose and start getting both regiments of the vaccine into somebody, the quicker we can turn the tide against this vaccine.
“Days do matter here.”
Marty Wright, Chief Executive Officer of the @WVHCA1, speaks with @HoppyKercheval about how the first round of vaccinations at long term care facilities should be wrapped up today. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIRZCB pic.twitter.com/byJOrkglyH
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) December 28, 2020
Not everyone will receive the vaccine at nursing homes, although everyone is eligible according to Wright. Those who currently have the virus cannot take it.
Wright said it’s another step forward for the state in what has been a leader during vaccination.
“We will be the first in the nation to have vaccinated our nursing homes and assisted livings. That continues with the trend we’ve throughout the pandemic. Whether it was testing, we were the first state to do statewide facility testing. Even with the closure and reopenings, we are among the first to do both of those,” he said.