Manchin questions officials on future vaccine distribution in rural America

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today questioned U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials on Operation Warp Speed which oversees the research, creation, and production of a potential COVID-19 vaccine and the plans for future distribution of a potential vaccine in areas of rural America like West Virginia.

“Rural providers have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Across the United States COVID-19 cases are growing faster in rural areas at 13 percent compared to the national rate of 9 percent and for the second week in a row rural counties have had the highest number of cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

West Virginia saw its single day high just yesterday. We have 12 rural hospitals that have closed with three in West Virginia. We’re concerned about rural healthcare and how the vaccine is going to be distributed in those areas to make sure we’re able to meet the rising challenges we have, and that rural providers have the necessary equipment and personnel to administer the vaccine.

Rural America is getting hit hard now and we knew it would be a delayed reaction of how they’re getting hit. But we have the most vulnerable population in the country in West Virginia because of our age and type of hard work they’ve done so they have underlying health conditions too, and if it hits it’s going to be of disastrous proportions. So we need to stay ahead of that and if we have a hard time getting a vaccine when it comes, we’re really up the crick,” said Senator Manchin.

To watch Senator Manchin question HHS and CDC officials on distribution of a potential vaccine in rural America, click here

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