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West Virginia on Friday submitted its plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gov. Jim Justice announced during his COVID-19 news briefing on Friday.

The plan, which was not shared during the briefing, is supposed to provide guidance for how the state will organize its distribution of a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine, though it’s still unclear when a vaccine will be available.

Justice did not give specifics of the plan, but said if it’s possible, he could see front line workers and first responders — including doctors and nurses — receiving a vaccine by the end of this year.

Nationally, some vaccine trials have failed in recent weeks, and there is no guarantee when one will be cleared by the Federal Drug Administration for distribution to the public. Experts agree, however, that distribution of the vaccine could in itself take up to a year, if not longer.

Also Friday:

  • Three more West Virginians died due to complications with COVID-19, bringing the total dead to 396. So far, there have been 19,580 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources announced that, through a partnership with the West Virginia Health Information Network, the agency can now receive and report results from rapid COVID-19 testing electronically. With that ability, the state now receives electronic results from 170 testing entities instead of just 97, which explains the influx of lab reports from Thursday seen on the state COVID-19 dashboard.

  • Justice urged anyone who can to get tested for COVID-19, especially in counties designated as red or orange on the state color-coded map

Reach Caity Coyne at caity.coyne@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-7939 or follow

@CaityCoyne on Twitter.