What’s Behind West Virginia’s Vaccine Success?

There are a few states that are progressing faster than others when it comes to getting residents vaccinated. West Virginia is one of those states. According to Bloomberg, the state has used 73% of its shots so far. The reason? As Yuki Noguchi reports for NPR, West Virginia is the only state that opted out of working with CVS and Walgreens on distribution. Instead, the state is relying on its many small and independent pharmacies. So far, it seems to be working. Noguchi reports:

Many long-term care sites in the state already use local pharmacies for other vaccines and medicines as well as twice-weekly coronavirus testing of residents and staff. The state decided to piggyback off those existing relationships. Because those pharmacies already had data on many patients, it was easier to begin scheduling appointments in early December, securing consent forms and matching doses to eligible patients — logistics that are confounding efforts in many other states.

This scheme gave the state an early jump on most other states, says Krista Capehart, director of regulation for the state’s Board of Pharmacy and chief architect of West Virginia’s distribution plan. When vaccines finally arrived, pharmacists were ready, and knew the number of doses they’d need.

Read the full piece below.

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that