Vaccine rollout 'is not rocket science': West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice

Martha Raddatz takes a closer look into West Virginia's vaccine rollout on "This Week."
5:21 | 01/31/21

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Transcript for Vaccine rollout 'is not rocket science': West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice
It's the question so many Americans are asking, when can we get back to normal? A simple question with a more complicated answer. While covid cases and hospitalizations have declined over the past two weeks, January, with that post-holiday surge, now ranks as the deadliest month in the pandemic. And the U.S. Has surpassed 26 million confirmed infections. Meaning, roughly 1 in every 12 Americans has tested positive. So many Americans still struggling to pay rent or put food on the table. In need of a financial lifeline. And while we have two vaccines authorized for emergency use and another promising candidate on the way, the rollout across the country has struggled. Long lines. Not enough appointments. So many wondering, how and when they can get the shot. Of the nearly 50 million covid vaccine doses distributed, less than 30 million have been administered. This morning, we'll dive into the latest on the virus, the vaccine and the push for relief from congress. We begin our journey in one state moving ahead of the pack with its vaccine rollout and what they're doing right. It's what you don't see at this West Virginia convention center that's remarkable. No long lines. And the registering was very, very simple. Reporter: No frustrated citizens. I've been looking forward to No signs saying, come back when shots are available. So you would say the big difference and why it's been so successful here, just very early planning for rollout. We sent out health commands in 2020 before we had our first case. Reporter: Yes, they started planning nearly a year ago and West Virginia by most measures has had a vaccine rollout far more successful than the rest of the country. Dr. Sherri young runs the local health department here in Charleston. We tried to make this a process where there's one central location for the vaccinations. Get as many people immunized as we can. They're going to redevelop our plans so we can down size and get into our smaller communities. The need for the vaccine in West Virginia is particularly urgent. The population here is among the oldest and most chronically ill. One key factor, to logistic capabilities of the national Guard. When the precious vials arrived in state the National Guard distribute them to five hubs, within hours they are sent to local drugstores and health clinics in each of the 55 counties. How much of a difference have the guard there? Tremendous. Logistics is their thing. You need something done, the time you want it done. This average is 250 -- Reporter: Once on site, every part of the process, from the check-in to the shots, to the 15-minute wait afterwards, is constantly monitored. We can track every half hour, hour, the speed inwhich we're moving people through. Shift my sectors so I can give people lunch breaks. Reporter: Because of this tracking, West Virginia has been able to distribute more than 83% of its doses, the highest of any state. Every single vaccine that comes into this state, before the end of the week we've got it in somebody's arm. Reporter: Jim justice has been the governor here since 2017. One of the things is you went through local pharmacies. You didn't depend on the bigger Walgreens and CVS because you don't have a lot of those. Thank goodness, and I don't mean that in a bad way, but we had to take the vaccines to the people rather than bring the people to the vaccine and, you know, so, there's just been a lot of work. It's just practical smarts, that's all there is to it. Reporter: More than 250 mom and pop pharmacies scattered across the rural areas have been tasked along with local health centers to give out the doses. More than 200,000 first and second doses have been administered here, almost 9% of the residents have gotten their first shot. If we had an unlimited supply of vaccines, we would have every single breathing 65-year-old-plus vaccinated by Valentine's day. Reporter: There's just one thing missing in this success story -- more vaccine. In terms of federal government, what would have been more helpful or what would be more helpful going forward? More vaccines. Despite all the people you see here today, even though we're going to today do almost 3,000 vaccinations, so many more people who really need to get that vaccine. Reporter: As for the rest of the country who often ridiculed West Virginia is happy to give out advice on this one. This operation could work anywhere, it could be upscaled and down sized. What would you say to other governors in states where this is not working? If it's not working quit running the same play. You know, call us up on the phone and we'll tell you exactly what to do and this is not rocket science. And for more on the

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