As many states including our own home state of Washington struggle to ramp up vaccination rates, there are a few standouts. West Virginia currently leads the nation in vaccination rate (7.1% of population with first dose, compared to a national average of 3.4% and Washington’s rate of 3.0%), and they’re doing it by a conscious policy choice to vaccinate nursing home residents via local pharmacies, not via the big national chains which have distribution deals with the Federal Government.
This article explains why this is working so well, and what other states can learn from it. It’s also worth mentioning that West Virginia leads the nation in percentage of employees who work in health care (15%). West Virginia has had recent pandemic control experience which most states have not (H1N1 Flu in 2009), and, in common with the other best-performing states, has a small population, no big cities, and an older, whiter population: the top four states in vaccinations are West Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Alaska.
All that said, their nursing home strategy is a still shining example of how to tackle a novel problem effectively. Other states should take note, not just of this example, but of the mindset–the relentlessly urgent mentality required. Let’s all be Mountaineers.