CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to all state residents age 70 and older beginning immediately.
The Governor added that the CDC is recommending that all states offer vaccines to those age 65 and older, as well as those with pre-existing conditions or comorbidities, as soon as possible.
“We’re dropping our age right now from 80 to 70,” Gov. Justice said. “And next week, if we continue to push – and God knows we will – as quickly as we can get to a place where we’re going to have enough vaccines to drop the age to 65, we’re going to go to 65.”
Meanwhile, the Governor reported that West Virginia continues to lead the nation in the rate of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.
West Virginia remains the top-ranked state in the country for vaccine distribution on a per capita basis, according to the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker.
As of Wednesday, 100,696 1st doses and 16,434 2nd doses have been administered, totaling 117,130 doses administered overall statewide.
West Virginia continues to rank among the nation’s leaders with a 1st dose administration rate of 85.4 percent. As of yesterday, every 1st dose of vaccine that has been delivered to the state has either already been administered or is assigned to a name to be administered in the next few days.
“I think it is an incredible accomplishment,” Gov. Justice said. “Think about how many lives are being saved by us leading the nation.
“We have put in arms somewhere close to just under 30,000 vaccines to our elderly, and that does not count the additional vaccines we gave out at all of our state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” Gov. Justice continued. “How many lives did we save? A week or so ago, those people that were 80-plus had no hope because they were told they weren’t going to get their vaccines until early April. We’ve got almost 30,000 of them vaccinated now.”
The Governor went on to say that yesterday he took a call with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, who complimented West Virginia’s vaccination efforts.
“He called and said ‘I want you to go on and tell all the other governors what you’re doing in West Virginia because we’re failing across the rest of our country,’” Gov. Justice said. “We have additional vaccines coming next week, and we’re continuing to push the HHS hard for even more.”
Gov. Justice went on to announce that 14 vaccine clinics will be held this week through operation “Save Our Wisdom.” Approximately 6,300 vaccines in total will be allocated to the clinics.
The free vaccination clinics are for West Virginia residents only. They will be held in Berkeley, Braxton, Cabell, Greenbrier, Hardy, Harrison, Hancock, Kanawha, Monongalia, Randolph, and Wood counties. Many clinics require appointments and walk-ins will not be accepted unless it is specifically designated as a walk-in clinic.
“As operation ‘Save Our Wisdom’ continues to ramp up, I encourage all West Virginians who are age 70 and older to take advantage of the opportunity to receive a life-saving vaccine,” Gov. Justice said.
Additional clinics are planned for next week as vaccine supplies continue to increase.
To date, 25,774 West Virginians have been vaccinated through this program.
The Governor also once again provided a reminder that the State has launched a new COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line to help West Virginians get information on the distribution process and availability of COVID-19 vaccines.
VACCINE INFO LINE: 1-833-734-0965
The line operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visit vaccinate.wv.gov for more information, including details on vaccine availability and other frequently asked questions.