COVID-19 vaccines to be available at state tourneys

Photo Courtesy of the West Virginia Governor’s Office State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh provides information during Gov. Jim Justice’s COVID-19 briefing Friday.

CHARLESTON (AP) — Fans attending the West Virginia girls and boys state basketball tournaments will have the chance to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

The vaccines will be administered starting Tuesday at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said in a news release.

Anyone age 16 and older can receive a vaccine.

“We understand that parents and teenagers are busy, so this is one way we hope to make the process more convenient for them,” said Dr. Sherri Young, the department’s health officer.

COVID-19 vaccines are also available by appointment in the health department’s clinic by calling 304-348-8080.

State data shows 31% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated and 39% have received at least one dose. Gov. Jim Justice said last week a statewide mask mandate may stay in place until 70% of eligible residents are vaccinated.

During Friday’s regular briefing, Gov. Jim Justice and state medical experts discussed the latest data on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness after continued analysis by epidemiologists has shown that the vaccines are nearly perfect at stopping infections and deaths.

“How can you possibly walk away from this lifesaver that is absolutely available to you?” Justice said. “We know that, if you get vaccinated, your chances of getting COVID go down unbelievably.”

State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh explained that according to the most complete, up-to-date data on West Virginia’s vaccine distribution — gathered by the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) and WVU using new methodology in collaboration with the White House and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — shows that 573,547 West Virginians have been fully vaccinated to date.

Of that total, over 99.9% of fully vaccinated West Virginians have not gotten sick from COVID-19. Marsh went on to explain that fewer than 150 fully vaccinated West Virginians have experienced a breakthrough case of COVID-19 and only three have died.

“These vaccines are incredibly effective, even with the variant viruses, to prevent severe illness hospitalization and death,” Marsh said. “That’s the reason why we are so committed to trying to help each West Virginian choose to be vaccinated; so that they can protect themselves and so they can protect each other.”

“Think about it, West Virginia,” Justice said. “There have been 2,813 people that I have read that have passed away in West Virginia from COVID, and just three — three of them — have been people that have had both shots.

“How can you have better odds in the world?” Justice continued.


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