Pfizer vaccine lands in southern West Virginia

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BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine are now here in West Virginia, but a lot of preparation had to happen to get the vaccine here.

Lieutenant Colonel Walter Hatfield said the state has been preparing for this shipment for months.

“As we received the shipment from Pfizer into West Virginia, we’ve identified five hubs throughout the state of West Virginia, looking geographical across the state, how we can better distribute those vaccines to the hospitals and long term care facilities,” said Hatfield.

Those five hubs are Berkley, Greenbrier, Monongalia, Kanawha, and Cabell Counties. Hatfield said before the hubs were chosen, the ability to house the vaccine was checked. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored in extremely low temperatures. Many places were unable to house it.

Hatfield said once hubs were chosen then the order of who gets it was next.

“The way that we received prioritization of it is for acute care for ICU’S, COVID units for the hospitals, also for long term care centers, nursing homes, assisted living staff, nursing home assisted living residents as well as the local health departments and first responders,” said Hatfield.

West Virginia received doses of the vaccine Monday, December 14, 2020. Hatfield said the first shipment contained 16,575 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. To distribute it, the National Guard was called in.

Princeton Community Health, the only hospital in Mercer County, received its shipment Tuesday, December 15, 2020. A representative of PCH said once the shipment has been received, it will be taken to the pharmacy to be registered and then dispersed. He said the first vaccinations will begin Wednesday, December 16, 2020.

A representative with the Mercer County Health Department said their shipment should be in within a couple of weeks.

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