CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice continues his plea with West Virginians to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Justice says the state is awaiting the FDA’s authorization to vaccinate 12 to 15-year olds, but is ready to do so once given the approval. The governor says there are 78,000 young West Virginians in that age group who would become eligible for the vaccine once the FDA gives its authorization.
As of this morning, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported 810,232 people in the Mountain State have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and of those, 680,025 West Virginians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In total, the state has administered 1,331,345 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Justice says that number is 85.3% of the doses currently allotted to the state.
“I continue to call on the parents and the grandparents to protect yourselves. Help us get those kids vaccinated,” Justice said during his semi-daily press briefing. “Those kids need protected. You need protected, and with all of that being said, the kids, from the side effects they could possibly get from this [virus] in every way need vaccinated.”
The governor also says the state is continuing to work on its plan to give those West Virginia residents 16 to 35 years of age who get the vaccine a $100 savings bond. He says state officials are also looking into the possibility of offering the flexibility to choose between a savings bond or a gift card.
According to retired Major General James Hoyer, the importance of getting vaccinated is ever-increasing to prevent further deaths related to the virus. He says more U.S. citizens have now died from the virus in just over one year, than during the four-plus years the country was involved in World War II.
“Understand that over 160,000 more people have died from COVID than died in the four-plus years that our nation fought in WWII to deal with that threat, ” Hoyer said. “Nobody is trying to infringe upon anybody’s rights … We would ask that you take on consideration of your responsibility and get a vaccine to help protect our community.”
Hoyer also says this week, primary care providers will start picking up doses of the vaccines to be used in their practices.
The governor also encouraged people to get tested for COVID-19 if they begin to feel ill in order to catch the virus early and help treat the individual who has the virus as well as mitigate further spread.