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Appalachia Health News tells the story of our health challenges and how we overcome them throughout the region. 

Health Officials Prepare For Approval Of Omicron Vaccine Booster

As the U.S. races to vaccinate its population, the development of better COVID-19 vaccines has already begun.
Government Pharmaceutical Organization of Thailand via Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
West Virginia is preparing to receive and distribute a new COVID-19 vaccine booster that targets omicron variants.

The state’s health leaders are preparing for the approval of a new COVID-19 vaccine booster next month.

During Monday’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Jim Justice and his advisors discussed the expected approval and distribution as early as next week of an omicron-focused COVID-19 vaccine booster.

Ret. Maj. Gen. Jim Hoyer said the state has placed its orders with the federal government, and as with previous vaccine rollouts, older populations and frontline workers will be prioritized.

“We're going to be focusing on long-term care, assisted living, West Virginians over the age of 65 and will also be engaged in working to get those updated boosters to health care workers, first responders and those on the front lines,” Hoyer said. “We have approximately just short of a 50,000 dose authorization in this initial phase.”

State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad reminded West Virginians that regular vaccines and boosters are still available.

“As the team mentioned on here, the omicron boosters that are anticipated being approved are going to be prioritized for long term care and older than 65,” Amjad said. “So if you're 50 years old, and you can get your fourth dose, we still encourage you to go ahead and get that.”

With Labor Day travel and holiday events this weekend, Hoyer anticipated a surge of cases, and asked West Virginians to take precautions.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.

North Central/Morgantown Reporter, cschulz@wvpublic.org, 304-284-1497, @SchulzReports

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