Governor Justice wants to provide vaccine boosters as soon as possible

With booster shots coming available Sept. 20 for covid-19, Gov. Jim Justice says that’s still not quite soon enough.

“For God’s sakes a living, we absolutely do not need to continue to wait until September the 20th. And we’re going to continue to push in every way to be able to get our people that are surely the most exposed — but anybody that is 60-plus that has been six months or greater since they got the vaccine needs to be getting the booster shot.

“While I try not to be critical, we’re making too many mistakes. We need to move. September the 20th, to me, just isn’t going to cut it.”

The Biden administration today announced plans to start offering booster shots for the covid-19 vaccine for people who received the Moderna or Pfizer options.

Eligible citizens could receive a third shot starting Sept. 20 after approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“We know that even highly effective vaccines become less effective over time,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, said today at a White House briefing. “It is now our clinical judgment that the time to lay out a plan for COVID boosters is now.”

In neighboring Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan today also said he would like to beat the target date.

“Rather than wait until the fall we believe the federal government should make booster shots available immediately for seniors and for other vulnerable populations,” said Hogan, a Republican.

Hogan added, “We are pressing the Biden administration for action.”

Justice also said he would like to beat that date for vulnerable West Virginians.

“I truly believe without any doubt — period — if people are six months out they should be vaccinated,” Justice said.

He added, “My medical team is going to guide me and if they tell me right now we can move forward this afternoon we ‘re going to move forward this afternoon because I believe wholeheartedly we should be vaccinating people today.”

West Virginia has still been working to get more of its population fully vaccinated.

As of today, state statistics showed 57.5 percent of the vaccine-eligible population fully vaccinated. Children under age 12 aren’t eligible.

The state shows that 70 percent of those eligible have received at least one dose.

Covid cases have been on the rise, fueled by the delta variant of covid-19. West Virginia today showed 7,759 active cases.

Of the 175,638 cases the state has recorded over the course of the pandemic, there have been 3,204 cases among vaccinated people. That is .36 percent.

Of West Virginia’s 2,997 recorded deaths from covid, 60 have been vaccinated people. That is .007 percent.

James Hoyer

“West Virginia, we need to step up and get vaccinated,” said Jim Hoyer, leader of the state’s interagency task force.

Justice cast the situation in dire terms because of how quickly covid-19 has been spreading. But he said citizens can still choose vaccination to protect themselves and their families.

“It’s too late, West Virginia. It’s too late for you to decide we should have gotten vaccinated. You can’t stop this now, what’s happened in West Virginia,” he said.

“But you can still save your own life or lives that are around you by getting vaccinated.”

Justice foreshadowed a new initiative — to be announced at the next briefing on Friday — aimed at encouraging more youth to be vaccinated. West Virginians ages 12 to 15 are the lowest participating age groups for vaccinations, 31.5 percent. Ages 16 to 20 and ages 21 to 25 are also among the lowest participation groups.

The governor said this one will also involve his dog, Babydog, who was a kind of mascot for the recently-concluded vaccination lottery.

“We’re going to go back out on the road and give a bunch more stuff away,” the Republican governor said.

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