VAX Quest: Why is West Virginia outperforming Maryland?

Given my vax-chase frustration, an analysis from left-leaning Brookings caught my eye:

COVID-19 vaccinations: Why are some states and localities so much more successful?

First, Brookings observes that all states (red and blue alike) have been  receiving allocations of vaccine doses in approximate proportion to their populations.

So, Brookings concludes that differences between states in inoculation rates must reflect other factors.

Like what?

To answer the question, the Brookings’ analyst did a paired comparison of Maryland and neighboring West Virginia.

Based on key percentages (% nursing home patients vaccinated, % population receiving at least one shot, % of allocated vaccine doses already administered), Brookings drew a “surprise” conclusion:

The wealthy and highly educated state — Maryland — is the one that has done a substandard job of delivering inoculations.

The poor and less educated state — West Virginia — is among the nation’s leaders.

So, what’s going on?


According to Brookings…

One apparent explanation for West Virginia’s superior performance: decisions have been made by the governor at the state level, eliminating confusion and competition among localities.

In Maryland, by contrast, most of these issues have been left to its 23 counties, each of which has established its own priority lists and facilities for administering the vaccine.

The conclusion: “Maryland’s system of strong county governance works well in normal times but is impeding vaccine delivery during this pandemic.”

More specifically: This delegation of authority has created confusion, including:

  • Policies vary from the state to the counties …and  from county to county
  • “A bewildering maze of online sites — some from counties, others from hospitals, medical groups (and retailers) – has sprung up.”
  • Most counties have closed their borders, only allowing its residents to access its vaccination facilities.


To get a sense of the policy confusion…

This morning (Wednesday), the Maryland state web site proclaimed that the state is in Phase 1C — providing access to residents 65 & over.



But, my home county, boldly proclaimed: “We are NOT in Phase 1C”.


Seeking resolution?

Too bad.

The banner across the county web site informed:



So …

  • The Feds blame the states
  • The states blame the Feds and the counties
  • The counties blame the state and the Feds
  • The hospitals and retailers say “just following the rules”
  • Folks trying to get vaccinated are on their own

Nonetheless, some folks are still rooting for government run healthcare…

Go figure.

2 Responses to “VAX Quest: Why is West Virginia outperforming Maryland?”

  1. Dixie C Says:

    Another key difference:. West Virginia chose not to participate in the Trump Administration’s Federal distribution plan for nursing homes and congregate living facilities which allocated doses directly to CVS and Walgreens for that population. In most areas of the country, the CVS/Walgreens part of vaccination programs is far behind the general public 1A, 1B, 1C Vaccine nation programs, and therefore a large proportion of doses delivered appears to be sitting on a shelf, despite the Governors claiming to be nearly out of vaccines.

  2. VAX: Why is West Virginia kicking the butts of richer, allegedly smarter states? | The Homa Files Says:

    […] Why is West Virginia outperforming Maryland? […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: