KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Concerns are growing in health departments across West Virginia as the federal government failed to send thousands of vaccines to the state this week. 23,000 vaccines were promises to arrive this week and never came.
Only 500 new vaccines will be given out at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department vaccination clinic on Thursday.
“We’re going to keep calling, I’m going to keep calling, we’re going to keep trying in every way, someway, somehow. We have got to have the vaccines because we will instantaneously save people’s lives,” said Governor Jim Justice during his press briefing on Tuesday.
Because of the slow down, KCHD is giving out fewer vaccinations than originally planned.
“It is alarming that doses are slowing down because we want to be able to get more vaccines in arms. But for what we have right now, we will adjust,” explained Dr. Sherri Young, health officer at KCHD.
And by adjusting, Dr. Young means vaccines are prioritized to those who need their second dose. She said people will still get them, even in the shortage.
“If somebody has been through our clinic and has seen the vaccine process they see us using iPads and computers asking about data,” Young said, “So as soon as we hit that submitted piece it automatically orders the next dose.”
Governor Jim Justice hopes the Biden Administration will step up to the plate to help West Virginia since it has the country’s third oldest population.
Health leaders hope the vaccine will arrive sooner than later and have a pre-approved waiting list if shipments come in.
“As soon as these vaccines become available… hopefully, this is just a slowing process that we’re seeing right now. But once we are able to open up those flood gates, we will be getting vaccines into arms really quickly,” Young said.