The first COVID-19 vaccines made it to Morgantown and the rest of the state Monday morning, and local health care workers should start being inoculated today.
Todd Karpinski, Pharm.D, WVU Medicine’s chief pharmacy officer, said 1,100 vaccines were received, with a total of 3,000 to be delivered during the next three weeks.
“We’ll follow state guidelines and give to the highest-risk people first,” he said.
Among those slated to receive the first inoculations are health care workers who work directly with COVID-19 patients. This would include doctors and nurses who work in the hospital emergency room, and its intensive care unit.
Pfizer-BioNTech, the vaccine’s developer, is sending doses to more than 600 locations in 50 states as part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.
Guidelines set down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the health care workers who are exposed to the novel coronavirus will receive the first vaccines because of the role they play in keeping hospitals open. This includes staff and patients of nursing homes, which account for 40% of COVID-19 deaths, according to The Washington Post.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine Friday.
The next people to receive the vaccine will be essential workers such as those who work in law enforcement, safety, utilities and food, followed by people who have pre-existing conditions and older adults.
In its story, the Post said West Virginia is expected to get 17,000 doses, with 110,000 doses by the end of the year, enough to vaccinate 6.1% of the population. West Virginia is averaging 20 deaths each day from the virus and is 30th in confirmed cases, the Post said.
“The state has approximately 100,000 health-care workers and 21,000 nursing home residents and workers, and the number of doses expected in December is not enough to give them a single dose by the end of the year,” the Post said. “The vaccine requires a follow-up booster about three to four weeks after the first shot.”
Gov. Jim Justice said during a press conference Monday the rest of the state should receive the vaccine by March.