We salute our neighbor, West Virginia, for leading all other states in getting the coronavirus vaccine to the people who need it.

In the Mountain State, 87,215 shots of the vaccine have been given; that means 69% of the doses received have been used — the highest percentage in the country, according to statistics released by the Center for Disease Control.

Good choices on the part of the state are the cause of quicker vaccine distribution.

West Virginia is the only state that didn’t sign on to a federal program that partners with big, chain pharmacies like CVS and Walgreen’s for distribution. The decision was made because those chain stores are less common in the state.

Long-term care facilities were first on the list of those to receive vaccines. Independent pharmacies are more common in rural areas and already have an established relationship with the care facilities, making it easier to get the vaccine into those hands. Lack of an established framework with care facilities is what has slowed down distribution in other states, according to a report by National Public Radio.

The chain pharmacies say they remain on track to finish care facility vaccinations by Jan. 25, which is a month after West Virginia achieved the same.

It wasn’t the state’s avoidance of participating in the federal program that made it successful; it was the consideration of the unique situation West Virginia faces and making a decision that fit that situation. It was the state’s leaders’ decision to think for themselves, and they made the right choice.

Much attention is given to larger and more populous states when the news is good, but West Virginia’s achievement in coronavirus vaccine distribution is great news and the state deserves to be applauded.

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