CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Coronavirus vaccine eligibility for the general public in West Virginia is expanding to include people age 50 and older.
Governor Jim Justice announced the lowering of the age cutoff during his Wednesday coronavirus briefing from the State Capitol.
The previous age minimum was 65.
Going forward, those in that older age group will continue to get first shots at available shots.
“As we get this increased flood of folks out there that are now going to be eligible to get their vaccines and so on like that and everything, we still have some out there are 65 and above or 60 or above, we want to put them in the front of the line,” he said.
At the same time, Gov. Justice said vaccinations would be beginning for school employees — teachers and school service workers — between the ages of 40 and 50.
School vaccinations previously focused on employees over the age of 50.
No projected timeline was provided for school worker vaccinations among those under the age of 40.
There were also plans for vaccinations for people age 16 and above meeting certain criteria including women who are pregnant and people with developmental disabilities, congenital diseases and cystic fibrosis among others.
Their caretakers were to be eligible for vaccines as well.
Pre-registrations for vaccines were being accepted online at vaccinate.wv.gov.
Assistance with online registration was available via the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 1-833-734-0965.
West Virginia, please register to vaccinate at https://t.co/4jM6nBgrJp. If you know of someone who needs some help, call us 1-833-734-0965, or consider helping them get signed up.
As vaccine becomes available, we want to make sure you’re able to be notified when it is your turn. https://t.co/6aegUOArjE
— Clay Marsh, MD • Wear A Mask ? (@claymarsh) March 3, 2021
On Wednesday morning, the state Department of Health and Human Resources reported 6,451 active COVID-19 cases in West Virginia, the known cases.
Gov. Justice said it was the 46th straight day for declines in active cases.
The daily coronavirus infection rate was at 3.13 percent and most counties were green, the lowest level for coronavirus transmission, on the daily County Alert System Map tracking spread.
A statewide mask mandate remains in effect.
Last month, Gov. Justice raised restaurant occupancy limits to 75 percent, allowed for more people in retail stores and increased group gathering caps.
Coming up on Friday, he indicated he would be announcing additional changes to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We want to be smart, don’t we West Virginia? We want to be safe and we want to absolutely maintain as much health as we can, but we’ve got to keep on living,” Gov. Justice said.
“We’ve got to keep on moving, what I call moving north, all the time.”