MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Maintaining the state priority of dropping the COVID death rates and hospitalizations is the reason first dose vaccine quantities will be reduced to Monongalia County through March 15.
Mon County had been receiving 768 doses and that will be reduced to 390 through March 15.
On WAJR’s Talk of the Town, Joint Interagency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer said the meant focusing on nursing homes, frontline workers, healthcare workers and the Save Our Wisdom campaign.
“When you do that in a state like ours where a lot of our healthcare resources are concentrated you’re going to get imbalance,” Hoyer said.
According to Hoyer, on average 15 percent of county populations are vaccinated. However, some counties are substantially above the average.
“We have some counties like Mon County that 68 percent of the over 65 population already has at least one shot,” Hoyer said,” We’ve got others that have half that or even one-third of that.”
While vaccine supplies are still tight measures have to be taken to keep the focus on the most at-risk members of the population and those who take care of them.
“In order to focus on that priority of 65 and above we’ve got to balance out across the counties over the next couple weeks,” Hoyer said,” To continue to get at that top targeted population that is most vulnerable.”
The targeted approach has resulted in a 72 percent drop in the death rate and 70 percent drop in hospitalizations statewide in the first six weeks of the year.
West Virginia has consistently been one of the most productive states getting doses into arms. Hoyer says if the FDA approves the emergency authorization for the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine the distribution program will sustain momentum.
“As long as they approve the EUA (emergency use authorization)for Johnson and Johnson- we’re scheduled to get 15,500 Johnson and Johnson shots next week,” Hoyer said.
The Joint Interagency Task Force has about 50 members focused distributing the vaccine to all 55 counties. Hoyer says the team has been about 16 hours a day to manage, trouble shoot and keep the statewide system running.
“We have weekly calls with all 55 counties and what we hear from them is we need local capacity,” Hoyer said,” We’ve got a lot of our residents that won’t drive.”