West Virginia Governor Wants to Boost Vaccine Administration to At Least 5 Million Per Day
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice called for a ramp-up of vaccination administration efforts to between 5 and 10 million shots per day, and suggested Congress adopt a targeted vaccine bill quickly to help states fund immunizations rather than wait for a large relief package that could be delayed for months by partisan squabbling in Washington.
Justice told Fox News in an interview Friday that West Virginia has already administered 99.8 percent of the vaccine doses that the state has received so far and said getting more vaccines is needed to save more lives.
“We’re trending at almost 100 percent, and we’ve just got to get the vaccines,” he said and, in light of past gridlock in Washington on prior pandemic aid, acknowledged the challenge of getting Congress to quickly pass another big relief bill that would include funding for vaccine efforts.
“[W]e can save lives right now if we move right now,” Justice said, responding to a question about a quick, standalone vaccination bill. “But to wait until the end of February or March …What are we doing? Absolutely, we can save lives if we’ll just get us vaccines,” Justice said.
The Biden administration has proposed a $1.9 trillion relief package that would include more money for vaccines, but some Republicans have already voiced their reluctance, panning the new proposal as an expensive, unworkable liberal wish-list. For any bill to pass the Senate, it would require the support of at least 10 Republicans to meet the 60 vote threshold under the legislative filibuster rule in a 50–50 split upper chamber.
As of mid-January, the United States was averaging around 900,000 vaccinations per day, according to data analyzed by The Wall Street Journal. To achieve herd immunity, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthory Fauci said that between 70 percent and 85 percent of the American public would need to get vaccinated, which is between 230 million and 279 million people. Since both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines require two doses for full protection, that’s between 460 million and 559 million individual shots, respectively.
Currently, around 19 million people have received the jab, with 2.8 million having received two doses, according to the CDC. The Biden administration has set a goal of 100 million immunizations in 100 days, a rate of one million per day.
“Really and truly, when you start doing the math, it will take way too long, and we’ll have another 400,000 dead if we don’t watch out,” Justice said. “Really and truly, what we need to be on is a glide path of doing 5 million or 10 million a day,” he said.
Fauci, at a press briefing on Thursday, said that “the best-case scenario, if it were for me, is that we’d get 85 percent of the people vaccinated by the end of the summer. If we do, then by the time we get to the fall, I think we can approach a degree of normality.”
Two doses in the arms of Americans by August, given Fauci’s objective of 85 percent of the public immunized, would require another 556 million shots to be administered in around 210 days, a rate of just over 2.6 million per day.