CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Justice administration hopes to have systems in place to administer COVID-19 vaccinations in all 55 counties by Feb. 1.
Retired state Adjutant General Jim Hoyer, who heads up Gov. Jim Justice’s Inter-Agency Task Force, said the systems would be unique depending on the needs of the individual county.
“One county may have a central site, another county may move their site around to three or four places. So we’re continuing to improve that process,” Hoyer said during an appearance Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.”
The state has currently been distributing doses of the vaccines in 17 counties through its hub system. The task force has been working to create more networks, Hoyer said.
“By Feb. 1, we plan to have 55 systems in place over 55 counties, everyone coming together to build out what works best in those counties.”
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Hoyer hopes by then the state is receiving more than the current 23,600 doses that it’s currently getting from the federal government per week.
“We are prepared, right now, to take $125,000 doses a week and get those in the arms,” Hoyer said.
President Joe Biden has pledged there will be 100 million vaccine doses administered in his first 100 days in office. West Virginia First District Congressman David McKinley issued a statement Friday saying Biden needs to have a more ambitious plan.
“While setting goals is important, it is just as important that the goals be ambitious,” McKinley said. “The United States is already administering close to a million doses per day on average – including well over a million in the last two days. President Biden’s goal of 100 million doses in 100 days may sound nice, but it needs to be far bolder.”
McKinley said the Biden administration and Congress “should be pushing the envelope to go faster.”
Hoyer said more doses need to be produced and shipped to states. He said he’s spent a lot of time with Gov. Jim Justice during the past four years and has never seen him as frustrated as he’s been this week about the lack of doses coming into the state.
The state will rollout its new vaccine registration system Monday. Hoyer said it will focus on communication which is a top priority moving forward. He said the program will keep in touch with residents about available vaccines once they register.
“Being able to communicate to people, the understanding that they are in the system and that they have hope and understanding that they are in a queue to get vaccines when they become available, is the next important thing that we’ve got to do for the people of West Virginia,” Hoyer said.