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Vaccination rate in WV surges, as pandemic claims more lives

December 26, 2020 GMT

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice reported that nearly half of his state’s stock of COVID-19 vaccines has been administered. But the promising news was tempered by the governor’s announcement on Christmas Day that 55 more West Virginians had died from the disease.

During a press briefing Friday, the governor described, one by one, the latest people who had succumbed to the pandemic.

“Not good, not good,” he said afterward.

By Saturday, that number had further climbed — with deaths now surpassing 1,250, according to state health officials.

Earlier in the week, Justice said he expects West Virginia to complete within three weeks all vaccinations at hospitals, health departments and long-term care facilities.

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During his Christmas Day announcement, the governor reported that the state’s vaccination rate, about 47%, was the highest of any state. He said 28,623 of the 60,875 total doses delivered to West Virginia to date have been administered.

“You’ve got people out there that are battling the elements, that are trying to get vaccines in people’s arms,” Justice said.

The West Virginia Department of Health on Saturday said that the state has had nearly 80,200 confirmed cases of the disease thus far.