COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice encourages booster shots, noting individuals can now mix and match vaccine brands


CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and members of the West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership team held another news briefing today to update the public on the State’s latest pandemic response efforts.
During Tuesday’s briefing, Gov. Justice yet again encouraged all West Virginians to determine if they qualify for a booster dose and then get one if they are eligible.

“The number of folks that are in the hospital today are 76% unvaccinated,” Gov. Justice said. “What does that tell us? It tells us that 24% of the people who are hospitalized are fully vaccinated, but they may not have their booster shot.

“It tells us, as mathematically clear as it can possibly tell us, that if you are eligible to get your booster shot and you don’t get it, you’re making a real mistake,” Gov. Justice continued. “You need your booster shot.”
There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. 

Per 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: 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.
* = Underlying medical conditions: State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh has noted that the list of underlying medical conditions that would qualify an individual to receive their booster shot is extremely broad. According to the CDC, such conditions include, but are not limited to:
  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Chronic lung diseases
  • Dementia or other neurological conditions
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions
  • HIV infection
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
  • Mental health conditions
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • Smoking, current or former
  • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
  • Substance use disorders
  • Tuberculosis
Click here to read more (via CDC)
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.
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Justice reported that the average age of COVID-19 deaths in West Virginia continues to decrease.

The average age of the individuals who passed away from COVID-19 in all of 2020 was 77 years old. However, over the course of 2021, the average has dropped all the way down to 67 years old – a full decade lower than where the average sat at the start of the year.
“We’ve fallen all the way to 67. It’s a big difference,” Gov. Justice said. “The people that are dying from this dreaded pandemic are getting younger and younger. You’ve got to get your booster shot.”

The statewide death toll from COVID-19 has now reached 4,316, with 53 more deaths being reported since his previous briefing on Friday last week, including 14 as a result of the DHHR’s data reconciliation with official death certificates.

Of the 53 latest West Virginians to lose their battle against COVID-19, seven were in their 40s and one was in their 30s.

“From the standpoint of our parents, please encourage your children to get their vaccinations,” Gov. Justice added. “It’s going to get cold again really soon. And when it gets cold, we always run the risk of this thing picking back up again.”
Additionally Tuesday, Jim Hoyer, Director of the Joint Interagency Task Force announced that this week, West Virginia will not be receiving a shipment of doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adults and instead will receive 50,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children, with officials expected to approve vaccines for children ages 5-11 soon.

“Pfizer is retooling their operations to make sure they get the appropriate amount of doses out to the 5-11 age group,” Hoyer said. “We have been able to order, centrally, 50,000 doses of the doses for children and our retail facilities are now able to request doses as well.

“So we believe we will have plenty of doses available for those children that need to get vaccinated.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 7,366 active cases of COVID-19 statewide; down by 1,380 cases since the Governor’s previous briefing on Friday last week.

The active case count is down by 22,378 since peaking in mid-September, dropping by more than three-quarters (75.2%) in that timeframe.

COVID-19 Dashboard |

Meanwhile, the state continues to see a steady downward trend in the number of severe COVID cases.

The number of hospitalizations, patients in ICUs, and patients on ventilators have all dropped between 31.8% and 37.1% since peaking in the final week of September.

The number of hospitalizations is now 637; down by 84 over the past week. Since peaking at 1,012, hospitalizations have dropped by 375 (37.1%).

The number of patients in ICUs is now 202; down by five over the past week. Since peaking at 296, the number of patients in ICUs has dropped by 94 (31.8%).

The number of patients on ventilators is now 126; up by one over the past week. Despite the slight increase, since peaking at 195, the number of patients on ventilators has dropped by 69 (35.4%).

The County Alert System map continues to show modest improvement. The map now features five green counties, 12 yellow counties, nine gold counties, 17 orange counties, and 12 red counties.
On Tuesday, Gov. Justice reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are currently 42 school outbreaks in 19 counties with 563 confirmed cases.

COVID-19 Outbreaks in State Public Schools (WVDE)

A total of 53 county school systems have either face covering requirements or a criteria for requiring face coverings. Only two counties – Pocahontas and Tucker counties – do not have a face covering requirement at this time.

WV Department of Education COVID-19 Updates
Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to announce that he will be holding an announcement tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 11 a.m., to kick off fall trout stocking season in West Virginia.

“The fall trout stockings are now underway. They began last week in streams and lakes all across West Virginia. Tomorrow we’re going to do a ceremonial kickoff for our fall stocking with an event in Wyoming County and I’m going to get to enjoy a little bit of fun,” Gov. Justice said. “I truly hope you’ll watch.

“This great state abounds in beauty all over the place; the beauty that God above has bestowed upon us,” Gov. Justice continued. “I would tell you to take time to pause, get outside, and just look around and see how beautiful this incredible state is.”
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Jordan Damron,


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