CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – There are concerns about the growing number of COVID-19 variant cases across the nation and here in West Virginia.

Right now, the Delta variant represents about 25% of all new positive COVID-19 cases in the United States. Earlier this week, West Virginia had four Delta variant cases, but that tripled to 12 on Tuesday. The Delta variant is even more concerning because it is more infectious and more potent than other forms of COVID-19. It also is more prone to attacking young people.

“My other big concern is pockets of unvaccinated individuals. The best defense we have against this variant, the best defense for us to keep things closer to normal, although it a different variation of normal than what we had prior to COVID, we need to get those vaccines in arms,” said Dr. Sherri Young with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.

The World Health Organization is so concerned about the spread of the delta variant, it is recommending people go back to mandatory mask-wearing indoors. So far, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the state health department have not adopted that mask recommendation. The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department will offer free vaccination clinics from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

“We’re going to have a come-one, come-all, come in for any immunization, but especially your COVID-19 vaccination. We have Chick-fil-A gift cards we’re going to be giving away. We want people who maybe didn’t even get the vaccine because they weren’t 12 yet when we went to the schools. If you just turned 12, come get your vaccines,” said Dr. Young.

The vaccination clinics are free, but anyone 12 through 17 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The Health Department is at the corner of Lee and Clendenin Streets, in Downtown Charleston.