CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said Wednesday he can’t understand why more older West Virginians have delayed getting their booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Marsh, speaking during Gov. Jim Justice’s coronavirus media briefing, said approximately 550,000 people have been fully vaccinated in West Virginia but only 48,000 booster shots have been administered.
“I’m very much focused at how do we get our older West Virginians (to take booster shots)? These are people that absolutely should be running to the fire and we’ll run to them if they raise their hand at all,” Marsh said.
Gov. Jim Justice said those who have been fully vaccinated have made good decisions but not getting a booster is a bad decision.
“If we don’t get a bunch of people that are taking the booster shots—you mark it down–a bunch of those people are going to die,” Justice said. “You mark it down. That’s all there is to it.”
Marsh said maybe those 50 and older don’t think it’s as important to get the booster.
“The concern that I’m having more and more and more is that we’re losing our focus and maybe people are not concerned anymore for some reason,” Marsh said.
Marsh said studies show vaccines begin to lose their potency six months after the second shot. He said studies show boosters give the vaccine another nine months of strength.
Marsh said he’s at a loss to explain the low percentage of boosters given.
“I personally don’t understand why people aren’t doing that now, I really don’t,” Marsh said.
He said there could be another substantial surge.
“We could lose a lot more people at our hospitals, at this point, have been stretched as much as they can be stretched,” Marsh said.
State InterAgency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer said those over 18 who have had two doses of vaccine and it’s been past six months since then they should “seek out the booster.”