CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Gov. Justice has made a request to the CDC that West Virginia be able to give out a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible populations.
Justice has vocally supported the vaccine since the beginning, and touts that it remains one of the best defenses against COVID-19. He actively encourages state residents to get it as soon as possible, especially the elderly.
“Can’t be anything in my opinion more important right now than getting your booster shot,” Justice said in a recent press briefing. “But we have so many elderly people that have not taken their booster shot and it is a big-time mistake.”
In his press briefing Justice said the fourth dose would help mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant. He believes that in the near future, the variant’s toll on hospitals will get even worse.
“Without any question we’re going to have people sitting outside the emergency room that have had strokes or a heart attack that can’t even get into the hospital.”
Justice’s support for the fourth dose comes from Israel. The country is one of the first to start giving out a fourth dose, and according to Dr. Clay Marsh, the West Virginia Coronavirus Czar, the country has so far seen a big success in the fourth dose.
“They found this fourth dose is very safe; people are not having any new reactions with it,” Marsh said. “And this is all Pfizer. And they found after a week that they’re seeing a five times increase in the number of antibodies.”
If the CDC approves the request, West Virginia would be the first to move forward on a fourth dose. Justice says he wants people over 50, essential workers and the immunocompromised to be eligible for a fourth dose.
However, despite Justice’s continued support of booster shots, West Virginia remains among the states with the lowest booster shot rates. According to the CDC, only 18% of eligible West Virginia residents have received their booster shot.