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W.Va. delegation urges Biden administration to give state priority in vaccine distribution


West Virginia’s congressional delegation joined forces to send a message to President Joe Biden’s administration – the Mountain State should be given priority with the next round of COVID vaccine distribution.

The letter Wednesday from Reps. Carol Miller, David McKinley and Alex Mooney and Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin cites West Virginia’s record for successful vaccine distribution and the high number of at-risk West Virginians as reasons for the request.

It was sent to Norris Cochran, the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resourcesm and David Norquist, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Defense.

“West Virginia is leading the nation in COVID-19 vaccination distribution, making it a proven and commonsense choice for distribution prioritization,” Miller said. “I am proud to lead this letter with my West Virginia colleagues to ensure our state’s at-risk populations, frontline workers, and those eligible receive the vaccine as swiftly as possible. Every successful vaccine brings us one step closer to defeating this virus. I urge the Biden Administration to prioritize West Virginia and our successful vaccine administration track record in its next round of distribution.”

Capito said West Virginia is meeting the challenge to vaccinate its population, and she urged it be given priority

“We have successfully established vaccination sites in every one of our 55 counties and also had the first online state vaccination registration system in the nation,” Capito said. “Now that we have shown we have the capability and the infrastructure to rapidly administer doses and given our large elderly population, it is essential the Biden administration prioritize West Virginia for additional doses in the future rounds of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.”

Manchin said West Virginia continues to lead the nation in COVID-19 vaccinations, proving the state is prepared to receive an increase in the next COVID-19 vaccine distribution so its frontline workers, health care professionals and all West Virginians who want a vaccination can receive one as additional doses become available.

“As the state with the highest rate of people at-risk for complications from COVID-19, prioritizing the Mountain State in the next vaccine distribution just makes sense,” Manchin said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Biden Administration as they work to improve vaccine supply and distribute additional doses for West Virginians.”

McKinley said he believes the Mountain State has shown what good planning and attention to detail can do.

“Our state and local leaders have created a plan that addresses the needs of West Virginians and we should not be penalized for it,” McKinley said. “Gov. Justice has said if we can get the shots we can get them into arms. We are hoping that HHS will grant our request so more West Virginians can be vaccinated. Without mass vaccination we will never reopen this country.”

Mooney said he is proud of the Mountain State’s national lead in vaccine distribution.

“The allocation of additional doses should prioritize West Virginia, especially given the high rate of elderly and at-risk populations,” Mooney said. “I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to make sure West Virginians have the resources needed to combat the coronavirus.”

West Virginia has had 51,741 people fully vaccinated, meaning they have received both the first and second vaccines. The state has received 179,900 first doses and 175,317 – or 97.5% – have been administered. The state has received 98,500 second doses and of those, 51,741 have been administered, or 52.5%.

Gov. Jim Justice said his administration has urged federal officials to give the state more vaccine, and it should be rewarded for the job it has done so far.

West Virginia Delegation Vaccine Letter by Jeff Morris on Scribd