Gov. Justice urges boosters, says those 6 months removed from initial dose “may be no better off than those who never got vaccinated”

CHARLESTONDuring Friday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice once again pleaded for more West Virginians who have already received their initial series of COVID-19 vaccine doses to seek out a booster shot as soon as possible.

“You have got to get that booster shot,” Gov. Justice said. “Our medical experts would look right at you and say if you’re six months out from your initial vaccines, and you have not gotten your booster shot, you may be no better off than those who never got vaccinated.”

“We have had 1,072,338 West Virginians get their first shot. But we only have 48,893 that have received their booster shot,” Gov. Justice continued. “We’re sitting at less than 5% of vaccinated people that have gotten their booster shot. We’re making progress, but it’s just too slow.”

West Virginia Joint Interagency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer echoed the Governor’s sentiment.

“Based on the information put out by the CDC and FDA, most all West Virginians age 18 and above are now eligible for a booster and we encourage everyone to get a booster,” Hoyer said. “Based on the data that we have, we have an additional increase of vaccinated patients in the hospital and we know that we must get that turned around.”

There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. 

Per the latest CDC recommendations, individuals who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot if it has been at least six months since they completed their initial series of shots and they fall into at least one of the following groups:

65 years and older
Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings
Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions

For individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Per the CDC, eligible individuals now may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

If you are eligible for the booster shot, you can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with your vaccination card to receive the booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR.