CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – For the first time, a case of the Brazilian strain has been confirmed in the Mountain State, according to the governor and his heath care staff.
The state now has a total of 542 variants strain cases, 3 of those are the new Brazilian variant and the South African variant.
Most other cases are either the U.K. or California strains. The vaccines are most effective against U.K., California and South African versions, but may be slightly less effective on the Brazilian variant.
“If these variants catch hold and we aren’t vaccinated in the State of West Virginia, we will absolutely have a catastrophe. It will affect us economically. It will affect everything we want to do about school,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
Heath experts say the best way to prevent the variants is to get vaccinated. And even though use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was suspended, there are plenty of other doses.
“We really want to get West Virginia vaccinated. We have plenty of Pfizer and Moderna available,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, WV Public Health Officer.
The variants are more infectious and more easily spread, which is why younger people are much more vulnerable.
“We know that our most strongest group, age group of spread, is the 10 to 19 year old young West Virginians,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar.
As of now anyone 16 and older can sign up to be vaccinated.
“There remain concerns about the oldest West Virginians. Governor says more than 80 thousand people over age 65, still are not vaccinated,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.