West Virginia State: For vaccination in the pharmacy

Reportage

Status: 02/18/2021 4:23 a.m.

West Virginia is the leading US state in the distribution of corona vaccines: It relies on vaccinations in pharmacies. In the small town of Kenova, the strategy is working thanks to the village pharmacist Griffith.

From Jan Koch,
ARD-Studio Washington

A good 130 years ago, there was no neon lettering with the name of the shop next to the pharmacy entrance: “Griffith & Feil Drug”. There was also no LED sign on which the year 1892 shines again and again every few seconds: the year the pharmacy was founded, which still helps its community Kenova in the US state of West Virginia.

Owner Ric Griffith prides itself on his small family run shop. The pharmacy has always been an important point of contact for the now 3000 inhabitants of the small US town. And at the time of the corona pandemic, the pharmacy is even an important part of West Virginia’s vaccination strategy.

Vaccinating faster in the USA – pharmacies like “Griffith & Feil Drug” also play a major role in this.

Image: Jan Koch

Vaccine distribution through pharmacies

The US state relies primarily on unbureaucratic on-site solutions such as the one in Griffiths Apotheke. “One of our advantages here on site is that we simply know our customers very well,” he explains. “That is why we know who is the most vulnerable, who needs a vaccination. And we drive to those who do not have a car or cannot leave their house for health reasons. That way, we can reach people easily.”

Most states want to organize their vaccinations in an uncomplicated and unbureaucratic way – also with the nationwide pharmacy chains CVS or Walgreens. But that is not enough everywhere. West Virginia is proceeding differently, is expanding its plans: The recipe for success is further collaborations with other pharmacies at the local level. The more collaborations there are, the more efficiently the state can distribute the vaccine. Pharmacies that can vaccinate quickly and easily act more flexibly than some vaccination centers, argues the government.

“Glad how smooth it went for me”

Ric Griffith and his team in Kenova also vaccinate flexibly. Above all, it’s nice to see how satisfied and happy customers are when they get their injection, says Griffith. His daughter Heidi Romero, for example, who also works there, mainly vaccinates in the pharmacy – but also went to other places, she says:In West Virginia, the local pharmacies were essential to get the vaccine out to the people very quickly. We were hired to go to the long-term care facilities and clinics first and vaccinate health care providers and teachers. ”

Not only old or particularly sick people, but also teachers or health care workers are sometimes given the second injection. Joyce Maynard, for example, who is first cleared up by Heidi Romero and then receives her second dose.I’m so glad how smooth it went for me, “says Maynard.” And that I’m now fully vaccinated. ”

Pharmacist Heidi Romero vaccinates a customer.

Image: Jan Koch

West Viriginia leads the statistics of the vaccinated

A good eight percent of residents of West Virginia have already received the second injection – more than in any other US state. On average, it is just under four percent of all Americans nationwide who have already received two doses.

Usually, West Virginia is not exactly the top of the table in the health statistics: It has a high rate of obesity and chronic diseases. But now the state is leading the way in terms of the per capita distribution of corona vaccines. Some other countries are lagging behind because of their respective health systems. It is not uncommon for someone to be to blame for poor financial resources – as in the state of Alabama, for example.

Biden’s vaccination plans: 100 million in 100 days

US President Joe Biden wants all states to vaccinate more efficiently. In his first 100 days – i.e. by April 29 – he wants to achieve 100 million corona vaccinations. A goal that he should probably achieve. But from April the plan is to usher in the “Open Season” – so that all population groups can receive vaccinations. This is considered ambitious. After all, the states have to play along and move forward with their own plans – more and more of them are looking for solutions at the local level.

It shouldn’t fail at West Virginia and the pharmacy in the town of Kenova. As long as supplies come, your refrigerators won’t stay full for long, says Griffith: “We don’t actually have a vaccine in our store for more than twelve to 24 hours before we vaccinate it.”

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