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CHARLESTON — More than a million West Virginians have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, contributing to the continual decrease in active cases, hospitalizations and deaths, Gov. Jim Justice said on Tuesday.
According to the state Department of Health and Human Resources, 1,005,135 eligible West Virginians age 12 and older have at least one dose of the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as of Tuesday, making up 64.5 percent of all eligible residents.
“I congratulate everyone who has played a role in getting us to this point, but we still have more work to do,” Justice said during his COVID-19 briefing from the Capitol. “West Virginia, you’ve done a whale of a job.”
Seniors age 65 and older account for a majority of those who are partially vaccinated. More than 87 percent of the 65-and-older population have the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Of those age 50 and older, the percentage for partial vaccination is more than 79 percent. Justice said state health officials are pushing to get the partial vaccine rate for those age 65 and older to 90 percent and for those age 50 and up to 85 percent.
“We’re going to get there, and we’re going to surpass it,” Justice said.
Justice continued to call on eligible children and young adults to get vaccinated, but the governor pushed back on criticism that the state was not doing all it could to push for vaccinations for young people.
“You may have a whole lot of people on the outside who are throwing mud at us and saying … why do this,” Justice said. “I’d say kiss my butt, anybody who would sit and think in any way that West Virginia is having trouble now getting 12- to 35-year-olds there. For the most part, those people are not in danger like our older people have been.”
Active COVID-19 cases in the state were 1,093, accounting for only 0.06 percent of state residents with an active COVID-19 infection as of Tuesday. Active cases have dropped 19 percent in seven days, from 1,356 active cases last Tuesday. Only Mineral and Mingo counties were in the yellow category on the County Alert System map — one step down from green in the five-color alert system map.
Hospitalizations have dropped to 66 cases in West Virginia, with 25 of those in ICU beds and seven on ventilators. There were only four new deaths since Friday’s DHHR update prior to the July Fourth weekend. The Delta variant, also known as the India variant, has remained as 12 cases since last Tuesday.
“The only way we’ve gotten there is we all kept pulling the rope, we call kept pushing these folks and pushing them and pushing them to get there,” Justice said. “It’s extremely important you get your second shot … the effectiveness of these vaccines is off-the-chart good.”
The next drawing from West Virginia’s vaccine incentive lottery is today with announcements coming throughout the day. More than 330,000 partially vaccinated residents have registered for the drawing today, with the cut-off for each week’s drawing on the Sunday before. West Virginia have four more opportunities to win prizes between now and Wednesday, Aug. 4, including $1 million, college scholarships and custom pick-up trucks.
Eligible West Virginians can go to governor.wv.gov to register for next week’s drawing.