The Washington Examiner
By the end of December, West Virginia had given all roughly 28,000 staff and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the state the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
It was a remarkable achievement, especially given that only about 429,000 doses have been administered to long-term care facilities nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The key was Gov. Jim Justice’s decision not to use the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. Rather, he let state and local agencies work with private healthcare providers to administer the vaccine.
“As we looked at the federal program and the makeup of our pharmacies in West Virginia, it became that the federal program might not be the best avenue for our state to tackle long-term care facilities,” said Krista Capehart, director of professional regulatory affairs for the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy, one of the agencies responsible for coordinating the effort.
Under the federal program, vaccines are distributed via two large chain pharmacies, CVS and Walgreens. According to Matt Walker, director of the West Virginia Independent Pharmacy Association, it made more sense for West Virginia to rely more on independent pharmacies.
“West Virginia is a small, rural state, and we don’t have a city with more than 50,000 people,” Walker said. “But what we do have is many small communities with small pharmacies that are trusted in those communities.”
About 45% of the pharmacies in West Virginia are independently owned, according to Capehart.
The West Virginia Board of Pharmacy opened the state distribution plan to all pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens, although only Walgreens participated. Continue Reading