COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces West Virginia ready to offer vaccines to children ages 12-15 at schools upon federal approval


CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined West Virginia health leaders and other officials today for his latest daily press briefing regarding the State’s COVID-19 response.
During Wednesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that, with the U.S. FDA and CDC expected to authorize use of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15 within the next week, officials in charge of West Virginia’s vaccine distribution efforts are ready to hold vaccination clinics at schools in all 55 counties across the state as soon as this approval takes place.

“They’ll have to have the permission of their guardians,” Gov. Justice said. “At these clinics, we will also offer vaccines to all eligible West Virginians, including any other students, parents, and educators.”
The West Virginia Department of Education estimates that there are 78,000 students ages 12-15 who are eligible for the vaccine in the state’s K-12 schools.

“In the last month, we’ve held focus groups with teachers, parents, and students,” West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch said. “The interesting thing we’ve been able to talk about in these student roundtables is: ‘What does the future look like?’ And it all came back to vaccinations. Each one of the students talked about the role that vaccinations will play in the future of school.

“There’s one young man out there that I think had one of the best taglines for all of his underclassmen friends,” Superintendent Burch continued. “This young man was a senior this year and he said, ‘Listen, Superintendent Burch, I’ll make it very, very simple. I would tell all of my friends and peers in high school, if you don’t want your senior year next year to suck, get a vaccination. Just do it.’ He sent a very poignant message that even our young people are talking about the power of what these vaccinations can do for them. It didn’t matter whether they were AP students, career technical education students, or students that might be in the JROTC; they all have the same message. The vaccines are the only way they see forward to get back to some normalcy and to protect themselves and their families”
Gov. Justice also announced that, yesterday, all individuals registered in the West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Registration System were sent a message encouraging them to call the COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line (1-833-734-0965) to schedule a vaccination if they or a family member have not already done so.

As a result of this outreach effort, 973 West Virginians have called the info line to request a vaccine.

“Think about it, we went back to all those folks that had registered and asked if they had family members, or maybe if even they themselves had not scheduled their appointment, and we had 973 people call in to request the vaccine,” Gov. Justice said. “So that was very successful and that’ll help us a bunch.”
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice commended the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority for partnering with Community Autism and Education Systems, Autism Services Center, and Bible Center Church to provide a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for West Virginians with autism and other developmental disorders.

“This is really thinking outside the box. This is good stuff. We’re going to get more and more folks vaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to thank the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, Health Officer Dr. Sherri Young, and all those at the Bible Center, those at the Autism Services Center, and all those that are involved in every way. Thank you so much.”

The clinic is scheduled for Friday, May 7, 2021, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., at Bible Center Church in Charleston.

The clinic will provide reduced wait time, a smaller crowd size, and visual supports.

Participants can remain in their vehicle or receive the vaccine indoors in a sensory friendly environment.

Vaccines will also be made available to family members and support staff of those with developmental disorders.

Click here for more information
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice announced that the State of West Virginia is supporting the West Virginia Broadcasters Association’s efforts to encourage more residents to get vaccinated.

“They reached out to us and wanted to be as supportive as possible with our vaccine efforts,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to thank them, more than they will know, for stepping up and really helping, with all their media organizations, encouraging vaccinations to our kids and to our young people 16 to 35 years of age.”

The WVBA is running vaccination messages on all their members’ TV and radio stations and are personalizing these messages by using talent within their communities to spread the message of the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“This is what it takes. It takes all of us pulling the rope together,” Gov. Justice said. “If we can get more people vaccinated, not only are we going to shut this pandemic down, not only are we going to be able to get rid of the masks so much sooner, but we’re going to save a bunch of lives.”
Also on Wednesday, officials with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced that they have extended the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program to children ages 6 and under who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and are not enrolled in school. 

The expanded P-EBT program will benefit approximately 37,000 additional children in West Virginia.

Click here to read more
Gov. Justice announced Wednesday that the State of West Virginia has now administered 1,294,506 vaccine doses out of a total allotment of 1,531,420 doses from the federal government; an overall administration rate of 84.5%.

West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “Vaccine Summary” tab)
Factoring in federal partnerships and other vaccination programs, more than 1.41 million vaccine doses have been administered to West Virginians to date.

Out of 1,474,615 eligible West Virginians, 791,825 (53.7%) have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 653,048 (44.3%) have been fully vaccinated.

Out of the 367,011 West Virginians age 65 and older, 291,480 (79.4%) have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 258,392 (70.4%) have been fully vaccinated.
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 16 and older.

During his COVID-19 briefing on Monday this week, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia is implementing several new ideas to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible than ever, as part of comprehensive efforts to increase vaccination rates across the state.

The Governor also reiterated his recent announcements that West Virginia is now offering a $100 incentive to all residents ages 16-35 to encourage younger West Virginians to get vaccinated and that free COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be held at all West Virginia State Parks and State Forests between now and Memorial Day.

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are urged to visit 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.

Vaccinations also continue to be made available at Walgreens locations, the Med Shoppe/Leader network of pharmacies, Walmart locations, and additional independent pharmacies throughout the state as part of the federal pharmacy partnership in West Virginia.

West Virginians can go to for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.
The JIATF continues to reach out to manufacturers and businesses across the state to increase vaccine access for employees and their families choosing to be vaccinated by organizing vaccination clinics at these facilities.

Additionally, church leaders are still being urged to contact the JIATF for help organizing vaccination clinics for interested members of their congregations.

Anyone interested in organizing one of these vaccination clinics is asked to contact the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.
Gov. Justice reported Wednesday that the current number of active cases in the state is now 7,199, down from 7,201 as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Monday.

There have been 405 new positive cases and 12 deaths reported over the past 24 hours.

The number of active hospitalizations in West Virginia is now 236, up from 224 on Monday. Of those currently hospitalized, 91 are in the ICU, up from 84 on Monday.

The cumulative percent of positive cases remains 5.15%.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a look at West Virginia’s latest mid-week County Alert System map update.

The map is updated live on the DHHR’s COVID-19 Dashboard (Click "County Alert System" tab) throughout the week.

Red counties: 3
Orange counties: 11
Gold counties: 4
Yellow counties: 9
Green counties: 28
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice reported that there remain eight active church-related outbreaks in West Virginia. The active outbreaks are located in Berkeley, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Jackson, Nicholas, and Ritchie counties and account for a total of 80 cases, down from 88 such cases as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Monday.

There remain 16 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

The Governor also reported that there are now 32 inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, up from 26 such cases on Monday. Meanwhile, there are now 11 active staff cases across the DCR system, down from five on Monday. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 51 counties across the state that currently have free testing events scheduled through the Governor’s Aggressive Testing initiative.
This testing is available to all residents, including asymptomatic individuals. Proof of insurance is not required. Attendees should bring identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, to help in returning test results. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

An interactive online map of all free testing locations across West Virginia is available online. Users can filter the map by type of testing site or by county. Each location is marked on the map with a pin. After finding a testing location nearby, users are able to click on the pin for more information about that particular testing site, including the specific location and timeframe during which testing will be held.

Click here to view all locations, dates, times, and more details
Additionally Wednesday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his 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.

READ MORE: Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement

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.

Posters are available on the DHHR’s online Face Covering Toolkit for businesses or organizations to print and display. Social media graphics are also available for download and use by the general public.
Once again Wednesday, Gov. Justice encouraged all West Virginians to consider donating blood and plasma through the American Red Cross.

Those fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis may have plasma in their blood containing COVID-19 antibodies that can attack this virus. This plasma may be able to be used as a treatment for currently ill COVID-19 patients.

For more information, visit or call the local American Red Cross offices at 304-340-3650.
Click here to view all Executive Orders and other actions taken by Gov. Justice to combat the spread of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit
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