WV COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan

A message from Dr. Clay Marsh, Vice President and Executive Dean of WVU Health Sciences:

I wanted to share the background and framework for the state vaccine distribution plan and provide some specific details on the process. You can read more about the phased plan on the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources COVID-19 vaccine website and on the Governor's website.

Following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of West Virginia created a phased distribution plan. We’re working with governing associations, such as the West Virginia Hospital Association, the Long-Term Care Association, with county and state officials and others to make the best decisions about distribution.

  • In Phase 1-A, vaccines are being provided to hospital workers (particularly acute care specialists and those who work around airways, as they more frequently come in contact with COVID-19), long-term care (both staff and residents at nursing homes) and pharmacy workers (these are the workers who directly handle the vaccines as they’re distributed).

  • In Phase 1-B, vaccines are being provided to folks in community infrastructure, such as EMTs, police officers, firefighters, public health officials, local health departments, National Guard members. In both Phases 1-A and 1-B, vaccines are provided irrespective of age. However, a shift occurs when we reach 1-C.

  • In Phase 1-C, we vaccinate remaining healthcare workers, such as hospital staff, people who work in clinics, hospice, outpatient areas, home health, and others in healthcare fields, focusing first on those in higher age groups (aged 50 and above). If we wear personal protective equipment, transfer of COVID-19 inside these facilities is rare, but we want to protect those who are most at risk.

  • In Phase 1-D, we focus on those in utilities, transportation, higher education, K-12 faculty and staff, others in government, again starting with those 50 years and older. For this phase, universities will be following guidance from the Higher Education Policy Commission, along with guidelines developed by the West Virginia Joint Interagency Task Force.

  • In Phase 2-A, the general populace will receive vaccinations, prioritized by age (80 and older; 70 and older; and 60 and older), as well as those with pre-existing health conditions with a physician’s order. In Phase 2-B, other health care and critical workers under age 50 will be immunized. In Phase 2-C, the rest of the population will be able to receive the vaccine.

The vaccine supply will increase over time. As it does, I strongly encourage you to get a vaccine when it is your turn. It’s also extremely important to receive not just the first dose of the vaccine, but the second dose as well. Mild side effects have been reported after a day or two of receiving each dose of the vaccine, including pain, swelling and redness at the injection site, as well as chills, tiredness and headache. Side effects are more common after the second dose. The CDC says these side effects may feel like flu symptoms and may even affect your ability to do daily activities, but these effects will go away in a few days. Remember, these reactions are your body’s natural immune response.

Even after receiving your vaccine, wearing your mask and physical distancing remains critical. We must take care of ourselves and others throughout this journey. Although we still have a long path ahead of us, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccination by a majority of the population is critical to resuming life as we once knew it.

WVU Medicine has posted a general FAQ about the COVID-19 vaccine, and information can also be found on coronavirus.wvu.edu. For questions about vaccinations, email COVIDvaccine@mail.wvu.edu.

We’re strong. West Virginia Strong. Together.

Clay Marsh, MD
Vice President and Executive Dean
WVU Health Sciences