The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

A vaccine success story unfolds in an unlikely corner of US


The one-shot J&J vaccine gives West Virginia another weapon in its boots-on-the-ground campaign against Covid

Doctor Sherri Young was so excited to get her first shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine that she loaded a cooler full of 60 doses and hopped in a colleague’s navy pickup at 9 p.m., taking off into the Charleston, West Virginia, night in search of people to inoculate.

A husband and wife in their 40s waited at a quiet bus stop, headed to a homeless shelter. They couldn’t believe their luck. Young stayed out until midnight, vaccinating six people, fewer than she hoped. Two days later, on March 5, her department set up shop at a homeless shelter and at a soup kitchen — and got the shot into 200 more arms.

“The J&J vaccine for me was like a kid at Christmas,” said Young, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. “This is an incredibly underserved population, an incredibly at-risk population, and we were so grateful to have access to a vaccine with one shot.”

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