West Virginia to seek vaccine waivers for rural hospitals

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said he’s joining with his counterparts in Tennessee and Virginia to request a waiver for rural hospitals from a vaccine mandate for health care providers receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding.

“It is putting an additional level of strain on our rural hospitals that is just, just destroying us,” Justice said during today’s online COVID-19 briefing. “Maybe we can live with that in our more populated areas. … But living with that in rural West Virginia, where we truly have some folks that have to be terminated and everything because they just choose not to be vaccinated — what is that really going to do?”

Justice said the beliefs of health care workers who choose not to be vaccinated should be respected but added they should still be encouraged to get the shots.