CHARLESTON — During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice announced the initial allocation of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that will be received in West Virginia has been increased to 32,600 doses.
While announcing the state’s initial allocation plan last week, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia was supposed to receive 26,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
“Our cries are working as far as moving the number and bumping us up with more and more vaccine,” Justice said.
The Governor also provided an update on the timeline for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently the first such vaccine expected to arrive in West Virginia.
“The FDA is scheduled to have an all-day regulatory meeting tomorrow, where it is expected that they will discuss the Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine,” Justice said. “FDA officials have said they plan to make a decision on approving this emergency authorization within four days of the meeting, though I hope to the good Lord above that they can approve it even faster than that.
“The federal government tells us that, within 24 hours of receiving the FDA approval, West Virginia will begin receiving shipments of the vaccine. Within 24 hours of receiving the vaccine, we will be vaccinating people.”
Gov. Justice announced Monday that West Virginia officials have submitted the state’s initial Pfizer vaccine order to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, requesting the state’s maximum-allowed weekly ordering cap of 16,575 doses.
West Virginia plans to receive an initial allocation of approximately 60,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
There will be a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine when it first becomes available, so the vaccine will be distributed in phases, based on risk for contracting COVID-19.
In accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the first-available vaccine doses will be distributed to healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, individuals critical to community infrastructure and emergency response, public health officials, and first responders.
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice followed up on West Virginia University’s announcement that morning that they have teamed up with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to create a new Rapid Development Lab at the WVU Health Sciences Center in Morgantown.
This new lab will be used to develop, validate, and implement complex diagnostic testing for COVID-19.
The lab will provide quicker test results, and it will reduce costs to the state because it can process tests more inexpensively than commercial laboratories.
“We funded the lab out of our CARES Act dollars, we’ve waited for this to become a reality, and now it’s here,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginia, this is your CARES money at work right here. I thank the DHHR and WVU for all their great work.”
“I cannot thank Gov. Justice enough for his vision and leadership on this vital component in our continued battle against the coronavirus,” WVU President Gordon Gee said. “By directing CARES Act funding to make this lab a reality, we will be able to facilitate better health outcomes for thousands of West Virginians.”
Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.