CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDVM) — On Thursday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) held his first press conference since the Omicron variant was found in the United States. The governor’s team expressed their concern over the discovery, saying it’s only a matter of time before the mutation becomes truly active in the country.
“[The discovery] is even more reason to fully vaccinate and to boost people of all ages,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s COVID-19 czar. “We have way too few people getting booster doses in West Virginia, and we have a highly vulnerable population.”
According to the CDC, West Virginia currently has the fifth-lowest rate of fully vaccinated residents — just 49% of the total population has been fully vaccinated. (This number actually dropped after a data review revealed that some patients had been counted multiple times in the system.)
Booster metrics look even worse, as the CDC ranks West Virginia as the second-lowest in terms of booster shots. Only 8% of previously fully vaccinated 18-plus-year-olds have received an additional dose.
Justice said during the conference that he has plans to improve Mountain State’s vaccination rates, especially among the older population, and he will reveal those plans in the coming days.
The governor made no mention of bringing back any mandates or restrictions.