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West Virginia reports 23 new virus deaths, 49K vaccinations

January 1, 2021 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported 23 new deaths from COVID-19 on the first day of the new year.

Friday statistics from the department indicate the state has seen a total of 87,820 cases of the disease and 1,361 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The state currently has 26,143 active cases.

Meanwhile, vaccine distribution has begun in West Virginia with 49,037 doses administered as of Friday from the 103,375 doses received.

Local health departments were flooded with people seeking the vaccine after Gov. Jim Justice announced on Wednesday that the state would begin vaccinating residents 80 and older. Justice urged residents to wait until vaccination clinics are scheduled before showing up. Justice has also promised that vaccines for teachers and school workers over age 50 will be made available in the next few weeks after announcing plans to reopen public schools to in-person learning for younger students.

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Forty-two people at a vaccination clinic on Wednesday accidentally received a COVID-19 antibody injection instead of the vaccine, the West Virginia National Guard said. All of those people were being contacted and would be given priority for vaccination, the guard said. They do not believe there is any risk to the 42 individuals from receiving the antibodies, however the state Health Department said it would follow up with them.