Gov. Jim Justice: CDC Double Counted West Virginia Vaccinations

Gov. Jim Justice: CDC Double Counted West Virginia Vaccinations a sign on the front of the building for the centers for disease control and prevention (David Goldman/AP)

By Charles Kim | Wednesday, 22 September 2021 10:50 PM

West Virginia officials said Wednesday an error on the part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused the state to drastically lower the number of people in the state that have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

"We can blame this on the CDC, and it's their fault," West Virginia GOP Gov. Jim Justice said at a press conference with State Coronavirus Task Force Head, Ret. National Guard Maj. Gen. James Hoyer. "There's no excuse, in my opinion, for the CDC to screw this up."

According to an Associated Press report Wednesday, the CDC counting error occurred through a contractor that showed a 10% drop in the number of people over age 12 that received at least one dose of the three vaccines available, dropping from 74.3% to 63.7%.

"We have identified a problem with the CDC contractor data provided to us," Hoyer said. "Since the first part of May, they've been double counting the numbers [of vaccinated people] sent to us. It has made a significant impact on the numbers."

CDC spokesman Scott Pauly said in an email to the AP the agency is trying to fix the problem and is working with the state.

"Occasionally, issues related to processing or transmission of data will occur," Pauley said. "When issues arise, CDC works closely with states, territories, and federal entities to resolve the issue."

Justice said at the news conference the state reached a high of 1,000 active COVID hospitalizations in the state and continued to encourage residents to get the vaccine.

"The people that we've got to get to are the people that really and truly are just too busy to get their shots, or they're not informed really well, or they're not really against it," Justice said. "We can get those. And if we get those, we can really make a dent in trying to stop this thing."

The state has already plateaued in the number of new vaccine shots given to residents after being one of the states leading the nation when the vaccines first came out earlier this year.

While Justice has said the state will respect the wishes of those that decide against getting the shots, he feels there is no other way to stop the surge of the delta variant now going through West Virginia, straining some of its hospitals.

According to the state, 52.2% of the 1.7 million population is fully vaccinated, and 55.3% have had at least one dose.