COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice continues to urge all eligible West Virginians to get vaccinated, touts “astounding” success of vaccines


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 Friday’s briefing, Gov. Justice and state medical experts once again took time to encourage all West Virginians who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine choose to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Of all the vaccines that we’ve ever done throughout time, all the different things that we have come up with over the years, there’s almost nothing that protects you as well as the COVID-19 vaccine does,” Gov. Justice said. “The numbers are in and the numbers are astounding, in terms of how safe these vaccines have been. They are astounding in terms of the success ratios; how well these vaccines have performed.”
During his remarks Friday, State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh explained that, according to the latest CDC data, of the 77 million Americans who have opted to be vaccinated to date, only 5,800 so-called “breakthrough cases” – where an individual contracts COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated – have been identified. Of those 5,800 cases, 396 people required hospitalization. Only 74 individuals have died out of the 77 million who have received the vaccine; a fatality rate of 0.0001% compared to an overall case fatality rate of about 1.8% for all COVID-19 cases nationwide, according to Dr. Marsh.

“As we look at the impact of these vaccines in real-world situations, we know that these vaccines are incredibly effective and incredibly safe,” Dr. Marsh said. “As we look at West Virginia and we see that our use of the vaccine has gone down a little bit, it is really a signal to all of us that it is really important for us to step up and decide to be vaccinated to protect yourself, to protect each other, and to protect our state.

“We know that our strongest age group of spread is the 10-19-year-old age group; young West Virginians. So we really want to call on families and parents of young people to get vaccinated,” Dr. Marsh continued. “It will allow you to safely play sports and have your activities. If somebody on a sports team gets infected, then people that are fully vaccinated don’t have to quarantine. And for all of us, with our families, we want to make sure that we can spend time together, and the way to make sure it’s the safest is for all of us to be vaccinated.”
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice and state health officials announced that West Virginia has detected its first case of the Brazilian variant of COVID-19 in Berkeley County.

“This is just another reminder to please stay on your guard, West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “Get vaccinated, wear your masks, and do all the stuff you need to do to stay safe.”

DHHR officials reported that, to date, 497 cases of this variant have been identified across 31 states throughout the country.

“We have now seen several of the variants in West Virginia,” said State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad. “The best ways for us to address these issues are for us to continue to wear our masks when we are in crowded spaces or social gatherings, and also to get the vaccine when it’s our turn to do so.”
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice once again took time to encourage all West Virginia state employees to get vaccinated, dispelling recent rumors regarding PEIA’s coverage of those who choose to get vaccinated.

“We’ve been made aware that some state employees are choosing not to be vaccinated because of a false rumor that’s going around,” Gov. Justice said. “People are saying that, because the vaccines are only approved for emergency use that, in the incredibly small chance you were to die from COVID, that PEIA won’t pay out on life insurance benefits.

“This is completely and totally false,” Gov. Justice continued. “I remain confident that these vaccines are as safe and effective as can be. Your chance of dying is practically zero. But, if that were to happen, your loved ones are still going to receive your life insurance benefits.

“There’s nothing to this rumor. Don’t let a lie scare you out of getting these vaccines.”
Additionally Friday, DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch took time during his remarks to spotlight April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in West Virginia.

“Child abuse and neglect is a serious crisis affecting every segment of our state, and finding solutions requires involvement from every citizen,” said Sec. Crouch, who added that, in 2020 alone, largely amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 33,858 reports of child abuse and neglect to the DHHR.
“Our children are our most valuable resource and will shape the future in our state,” Sec. Crouch continued. “Child abuse and neglect can have long-term psychological, emotional, and physical effects, that have lasting consequences for victims. Prevention remains the best defense for our children and families.”

Suspected cases of abuse and neglect of a child or a vulnerable adult should be reported to the DHHR’s 24/7 Hotline: 1-800-352-6513
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice announced that West Virginia has now successfully administered 1,146,914 vaccine doses after receiving a total allotment of 1,352,250 doses from the federal government to date; an overall administration rate of 84.8%.

To date, 680,613 West Virginians have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 480,870 West Virginians have been fully vaccinated.

West Virginia COVID-19 Dashboard (Click “Vaccine Summary” tab)
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 16 and older. However, West Virginians who are age 65 and older will continue to be prioritized first until all state residents in this age range who desire the vaccine have been vaccinated.

To date, 260,190 West Virginians age 65 and older have chosen to be vaccinated, including 221,467 who are now fully vaccinated.

At the Governor’s direction, the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) has established three fixed-location vaccination clinics in Berkeley, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties to ensure that every West Virginian age 65 and older has access to a vaccine.

All West Virginians age 65 and older are urged to pre-register for an appointment by visiting or calling 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.
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice reported that the current number of active cases in the state is now 7,272, down from 7,309 as of his previous COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

The number of active hospitalizations in West Virginia is now 234, down from 239 on Wednesday. Of those currently hospitalized, 57 are in the ICU.

The cumulative percent of positive cases is now 5.21%, down from 5.22% on Wednesday.

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 data
Also on Friday, 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: 2
Orange counties: 7
Gold counties: 7
Yellow counties: 14
Green counties: 25
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now four active church-related outbreaks in West Virginia, down from eight such outbreaks as of the Governor’s previous COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday. The active outbreaks are located in Fayette, Grant, and Nicholas counties and account for a total of a total of 57 cases, down from 84 on Wednesday.

There remain 10 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.

The Governor also reported that there are now 67 inmate cases across the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) system, up from 61 on Wednesday. Meanwhile, there are now seven active staff cases across the DCR system, down from eight such cases on Wednesday. To view the latest DCR case update, click here.
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice provided an overview of the 52 counties across the state that 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, including daily testing events, recurring testing events, as well as Walgreens and Fruth Pharmacy testing locations. Users can also filter 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 Friday, Gov. Justice took time to provide a reminder that all businesses in West Virginia must continue to follow all applicable COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Click here to view all active guidance documents
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice provided a reminder that his Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement remains in effect.

All West Virginians age 9 and older to 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 order requires that all businesses and organizations that invite the public into their facilities must post adequate signage advising guests of the requirement and are also responsible for enforcing the requirement to ensure it is being followed.

Click here to read more details about the face covering requirement

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.
Additionally Friday, Gov. Justice once again 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
Additional media content, including video clips and/or photos from this event, will be posted on the Governor's Office website as they become available. You can find a link on the thumbnail image at the top of this press release.
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