6:00: Morning News

Justice: Pharmacy vaccination program could mean 3,000 additional doses a week for West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Pharmacies in West Virginia are expected to receive as many as 3,000 doses a week of COVID-19 vaccines in a new program announced this week by the Biden administration.

Governor Jim Justice

The federal government will provide pharmacies across the country at total of 1 million doses.

Gov. Jim Justice said he learned about the allocation during a Tuesday call involving governors and the administration.

“For all practical purposes it’s going to give West Virginia between 2,500 and an additional 3,000 vaccines (a week),” Justice told reporters Wednesday at his coronavirus media briefing. “That should bring us to up to close to 30,000 (doses) a week.”

West Virginia was originally receiving 23,600 doses a week. It received 3,700 additional doses of the Moderna vaccine this week and that’s expected to continue. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said Tuesday he’s been notified of another 1,500 dose increase from Moderna.

Justice said the governors were told the doses coming to the pharmacies would not be counted against the state’s allocation numbers.

“This is additional bracketing of doses,” Justice said.

State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said Wednesday the Biden administration wants to expand points of access.

“This plan is to push through so that pharmacies can be more active in the distribution and vaccinations,” Marsh said.

There are 21 national pharmacy companies participating including Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid. Walgreens is located in 84 cities in West Virginia with more than one store in some cities. CVS has stores in 40 cities including some with multiple stores.

The program will begin Feb. 11 and involve 6,500 pharmacies across the U.S.

James Hoyer

West Virginia Inter-Agency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer said the federal government is still working through some of the particulars of the program. He said West Virginia wants to make sure it can compliment what the state is already during with vaccination distribution.

“The governor has made clear, as well as his leadership team, if we’re going to do this nationally we want it opened up and coordinated through our state efforts so we can do best by our citizens,” Hoyer said. “We believe we in West Virginia have delivered a good, solid delivery mechanism.”

Earlier Wednesday during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline,” Hoyer said West Virginia could easily find arms for 150,000 doses a week.

The state began a new round of vaccination clinics Wednesday. There will be clinics in all 55 counties before the week is over.

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