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State officials working on plans for vaccine distribution during winter storms

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As winter storms continue to barrel parts of the Mountain State, COVID-19 vaccinations clinics are being forced to cancel events.

During Wednesday’s press briefing, Gov. Jim Justice and his administration vowed that no doses will go to waste, even as some must be used within a certain amount of time from shipment.

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Governor Jim Justice

“We are not going to lose progress. We are sure not going to let vaccines go bad,” Justice said.

On Wednesday, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority canceled its mass clinic set for Saturday. No appointments had been scheduled for the clinic.

The Braxton County vaccination clinic scheduled for Thursday was rescheduled due to impending weather. Individuals scheduled to receive their second vaccination will be rescheduled for Friday, the health department said. Those who were scheduled to receive their first vaccination will be rescheduled for February 25.

Patients in Braxton County will be contacted directly with their new appointment times.

West Virginia Inter-Agency Task Force for Vaccines Director James Hoyer said during the briefing that his task force is meeting three times a day to coordinate efforts on vaccine distribution.

James Hoyer

“We will have a plan that will, if we need to, move vaccines to other locations. Then next week backfill the vaccines that would have come to those counties,” Hoyer said.

The state expects to receive about 40,600 first doses of vaccine from the federal government next week, Hoyer noted Wednesday. That would be a jump from its initial allocation of 23,600 doses from January.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Resources, 252,901 first doses have been administered in the state as of Wednesday. 145,734 people have been fully vaccinated.