CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and his COVID-19 Task Force are calling the effort, “Beat the 588”. That refers to the estimated 588,000 people in the Mountain State that haven’t even had one shot of the vaccine. That represents about 40% of the state’s eligible population.
The governor says they are specifically targeting people between the ages of 16 and 35.
“You have got an absolute incredible amount of our younger people that just don’t understand, you know, the dangers or whatever it may be, that they are exposing themselves to if they don’t take the vaccine,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
“We have doses available. Plenty of does available to get to West Virginians,” said Gen. James Hoyer (Ret.), Joint Inter-Agency Vaccine Task Force.
West Virginia has had 405 new positive cases since yesterday, with 5 more deaths. That brings the state’s death total to 2,813. But the total number of deaths, only three of the people were fully vaccinated. These deaths were from what are known as breakthrough cases, where someone contracts the virus after being fully vaccinated. West Virginia has reported approximately 150 of these cases. Health officials say their biggest obstacle now, is convincing young people the shots are safe.
“The COVID vaccine is very safe for pregnant women. Very safe for 16 years and older people. And soon we believe we will be down to 12 years old, as the governor said,” Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar, said.
The task force again appealed to people who simply refuse to get the shots, because of so-called vaccine hesitancy.
“And it’s not just the youngest people being targeted. So far 77% of people over age 65 have been vaccinated. The governor wants that up to 85%,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.