CHARLESTON — During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice announced that more than 80% of West Virginians age 65 and older have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s amazing. It’s great stuff,” Gov. Justice said. “This is the number that I’m constantly looking at and so proud of. We got after vaccinating our elderly folks. It started with those 80 and up, and then it drifted on down to 65.”
The Governor went on to add that over 71% of West Virginians age 65 and older are now fully vaccinated.
“How many lives have we saved?” Gov. Justice said. “Now, we all need to continue to stand up and get vaccinated.”
The State of West Virginia has now administered 1,331,345 vaccine doses out of a total allotment of 1,561,480 doses from the federal government; an overall administration rate of 85.3%.
Factoring in federal partnerships and other vaccination programs, more than 1.43 million vaccine doses have been administered to West Virginians to date.
Out of 1,474,615 eligible West Virginians, 810,232 (54.9%) have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 680,025 (46.1%) have been fully vaccinated.
Once again Monday, Gov. Justice discussed the “Call to Arms” vaccine initiative that he announced last week to encourage more West Virginians to choose to get vaccinated.
The goals of the initiative are to vaccinate 65% of all eligible West Virginians, 75% of West Virginians age 50 and older, and 85% of West Virginians age 65 and older with at least one dose by West Virginia’s 158th birthday on June 20, 2021; the same day that the Governor plans to lift the Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement.
The Governor noted Monday that, with over 800,000 West Virginians having now received at least one dose, the percentage of eligible residents with at least one shot is approaching 55%.
“I think we can get to 65%. That’s only 10% more,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re close, and I know we’ll be plenty more close by June 20th when we get rid of the masks.”
The Governor went on to say that he is once again asking West Virginians who have already been vaccinated to ask their loved ones to be vaccinated as well, especially younger West Virginians ages 16-35 years old.
“We can get there,” Gov. Justice continued. “You’ve just got to really help me, West Virginia.”
In the meantime, the Governor’s Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement remains in effect.
All West Virginians age 9 and older must wear a face covering at all times inside all indoor public places, regardless of whether or not they are able to maintain proper social distance.
The requirement does not apply to anyone who has trouble breathing or is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance, anyone who is at a restaurant and actively consuming food or drink, anyone alone in a closed or physically distanced room, or anyone actively engaged in physical activity indoors.
All businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the face covering requirement and are responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 16 and older. However, the U.S. FDA and CDC are expected to authorize use of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 12-15 soon.
All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are urged to visit vaccinate.wv.gov or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
West Virginia is offering a $100 incentive to all residents ages 16-35 to encourage younger residents to get vaccinated. The Governor added Monday that his office is exploring multiple options to pay out on the incentive, including the possibility of either an electronic savings bond or a gift card. More information will be provided as it becomes available. However, the Governor once again confirmed that the program will be retroactive, meaning all West Virginians ages 16-35 who have already been vaccinated will also receive their $100 incentive.