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How West Virginia became a top state for Covid vaccine administration: Gov. Jim Justice

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Monday touted the state’s coronavirus vaccine distribution strategy, particularly its emphasis on ensuring elderly residents were granted the highest priority.

“We don’t have vaccines in a warehouse sitting on a shelf,” Justice said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “Today, we have 100% of the vaccines that we’ve received … either in people’s arms or have a name tagged to the vaccination that they’re going to get and they’re going to get in the next couple of days. Now, what we need in West Virginia, we need more vaccines.”

West Virginia has one of the best per capita vaccination rates in the country, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state has vaccinated 5,376 people per 100,000 residents, as of midday Monday. That narrowly trails South Dakota’s 5,451 vaccinations per 100,000 residents, per CDC data.

According to the Bloomberg Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, West Virginia has administered 71.8% of the vaccine doses it’s received. That ranks first among the 50 states, according to Bloomberg, with North Dakota and South Dakota ranking second and third at 68.3% and 64.9%, respectively. For the U.S. overall, 36.5% of distributed doses have been administered, per Bloomberg.

Justice pointed to West Virginia’s vaccination program for hard-hit long-term care facilities as a key reason for the state’s administration rate. West Virginia leaned heavily on its National Guard and a network of local pharmacies to administer the shots, Justice explained. That allowed the state to get going last month before the CDC’s federal vaccination program for long-term care facilities officially began.

“We’re first now to vaccinate all of our nursing home residents and staff, as well as our assisted living,” Justice said.

The state has now set up Covid vaccination sites for members of the general public who are 80 years old and up. The vaccine also is being rolled out to K-12 teachers and staff who are 50 years old and up. “This is all about age and age and age,” Justice said, alluding to the disproportionate impact the coronavirus has had on older Americans. “That’s just all there is to it.”

Justice said West Virginia was aware of the logistical challenges vaccination distribution at this scale would present and at the same time keenly aware of the toll Covid was taking on its state.

“I said this to our National Guard and I said this to our leading medical experts, … ‘We’re going to awaken to the fact that we’re trying to develop a plan on how to give out the vaccines and while we’re developing a plan, people are dying, people are dying all over the place,'” Justice said.

For that reason, he said planning teams tried to keep their strategy simple. “If I would say, ‘How many cows are out there in that field? … Don’t count the legs and divide by four. Just count the cows,” Justice said.

“We reacted to the fact that we would have vaccines sitting on the shelf,” he added. “And we reacted to the fact that age, age, age was driving this and these were the people that are dying, and we really aggressively got after it.”


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Pfizer CEO joins World Health Organization at press conference on the coronavirus outbreak

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[The stream is slated to start at 12:00 p.m. ET. Please refresh the page if you do not see a player above at that time.]

World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference on Friday to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 97.6 million people across the world.

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, which manufactures one of the Covid-19 vaccines that’s been authorized in the U.S. and Europe, is scheduled to join WHO officials at the virtual briefing. Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the public-private immunization partnership Gavi, and Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, are also scheduled to join the briefing.

Earlier this week, the WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the world is on the brink of a “catastrophic moral failure” if it doesn’t fairly distribute the available doses of the Covid-19 vaccines across the world. He added that the discovery of several more transmissible strains of the virus in different parts of the world increases the urgency of the vaccine rollout.

“It’s not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries,” he said Monday. “There will be enough vaccine for everybody, but right now we must work together as one global family to prioritize [those] most at risk of serious diseases and death in all countries.”

The WHO, in partnership with Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, established the COVAX facility last year to ensure equitable vaccine access for every country in the world. It aims deliver 2 billion doses of safe, effective vaccines by the end of 2021.

Read CNBC’s live updates to see the latest news on the Covid-19 outbreak.


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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing on Covid pandemic

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to hold a press briefing Friday on the coronavirus pandemic as the state continues to push forward with its vaccination efforts.

On Thursday, the Democratic governor’s office said that vaccine distribution sites have administered 93% of the first Covid-19 vaccine doses they’ve received, and 91% of the first and second doses. Both drugs from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses spread weeks apart.

Cuomo said the state has ramped up how many shots it’s able to give in a day, but now officials are concerned that they’ll run out of shots if the federal government doesn’t send more.

“We are racing to administer the vaccine as quickly as possible while doing everything we can to reduce the infection rate. We’ve made progress on both fronts since the post-holiday surge but there’s a long way to go before we reach the light at the end of the tunnel,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Read CNBC’s live updates to see the latest news on the Covid-19 outbreak.


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Ford, IBM, Intel and Seagate

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IBM’s logo seen displayed on a smartphone.

Rafael Henrique | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Check out the companies making headlines in midday trading.

Ford — Shares of the U.S. automaker dipped about 1%, retreating from an all-time high hit in the previous session. The stock jumped 6.2% Thursday following positive comments from Deutsche Bank and Barclays on Ford’s product plans and reporting of fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 4. JPMorgan also upgraded Ford to overweight from equal weight on Friday. The stock has rallied more than 16% this week, on pace for its best week since June.

IBM — Shares of IBM sank 10% following its earnings report that showed a decline in revenue larger than analysts expected. IBM made $20.37 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter, missing estimates of $20.67 billion, according to Refinitiv. Earnings, however, topped estimates.

Intel — Shares of the chipmaker tumbled more than 8% despite the company’s better-than-expected results for its fourth quarter. Intel generated $1.52 in adjusted earnings per share on $20 billion in revenue, beating Wall Street expectations of $1.10 per share and $17.49 billion in revenue, according to Refinitiv. Part of the equity price decline was a reversal of a late-session spike on Thursday that followed an early release of Intel’s results.

CSX Corp. — Shares of the railroad company slid more than 2% despite CSX beating top and bottom line estimates during the fourth quarter. The company reported $1.04 in profit per share on an adjusted basis, which was 3 cents above consensus forecasts. Revenue came in at $2.83 billion, which was ahead of the expected $2.77 billion, according to estimates from FactSet.

Seagate Technology — Seagate shares dropped nearly 6% in midday trading despite decent earnings results. The downward pressure is likely thanks in part to the already-high expectations analysts and investors had for the company ahead of its quarterly report. Wedbush analyst Matt Bryson wrote Friday morning: “Net, without a clear driver of near- term upside, or certainty around a longer term technological advantage, we are maintaining our Neutral view on the name.”

PPG Industries — The paint maker’s stock also dropped in midday trading notwithstanding profit and sales that topped expectations for the fourth quarter. Atlantic Equities analyst Sam Hudson noted that the company failed to provide fiscal-year 2021 guidance and wrote that a recent spike in raw materials costs could impact its second quarter results.

— CNBC’s Pippa Stevens, Yun Li, Maggie Fitzgerald and Jesse Pound contributed reporting


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