CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The number of active COVID-19 cases continues to decline in West Virginia, and the rate of new infections is dropping, too. Testing and vaccinations are up, and officials are excited that a new, third vaccine from Johnson and Johnson will soon be available. They say it has advantages over the others.
“Because of the ability to transport this vaccine easier. And the fact that it’s one shot. There is benefit to moving to some of our more austere, rural parts of our state,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar.
But getting vaccines everywhere has been a problem. Lawmakers in the fast-growing Eastern Panhandle say they aren’t getting enough vaccine considering their booming population and closeness to Washington, DC.
“I think it is very clear that we are not getting our fair share in the Eastern Panhandle, and there are 28 counties across this state that are below the state average when it comes to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Del. Jason Barrett, (R) Berkeley.
State officials say the first priority was vaccinating people age 65 and older, and some counties such as those in the Eastern Panhandle, have a younger population. Also, severe weather across the whole state shut down many vaccination clinics
“You will see that as the weather issues resolve over the next two weeks, and over the next 30 days, we believe we will balance out. It’s not just the Eastern Panhandle,” said Maj. Gen. James Hoyer (Ret.), Joint Inter-Agency COVID-19 Task Force.
As of today, the Governor says more than 440,000 West Virginians have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.
And the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says it is now taking applications for people who are home-bound, and not able to get to vaccination clinics. It has set aside two thousand vaccines, just for these people.