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

Hoyer: Omicron Booster Recommended, Available

Ahead of FDA approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, employers are weighing whether to impose vaccine mandates.
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State health officials clarified Tuesday that omicron boosters are not only recommended, but also available, for most West Virginians.

Some initial confusion about who could receive the latest COVID-19 booster vaccine has been cleared up.

Ret. Maj. Gen. Jim Hoyer made a point during Tuesday’s COVID-19 press briefing to clarify that the recently approved Omicron booster is available for all West Virginians over the age of 12 who meet the shot’s prerequisites.

“The COVID-19 Omicron booster is now recommended and available to anyone 12 years of age and older, has completed their primary series, meaning two shots of Pfizer, two shots of Moderna or the Nova Vax or you have taken your booster shots and you are more than at least two months from taking the last shot,” Hoyer said.

While the state’s health apparatus is focusing on boosting those 50 and older and in long-term care facilities, the state is expected to up its allotment to 100,000 boosters over the next week.

Hoyer emphasized that work had been done over the weekend to update the Department of Health and Human Resource’s vaccine calculator, and encouraged West Virginians to use the tool to determine when and where to receive the latest shot.

“Getting that booster shot is going to be exceptionally important,” he said.

Gov. Jim Justice echoed Hoyer to end the press briefing.

“From the Omicron standpoint, get your shots that are available to you, especially if you're 50 and older, please get your shots,” he said. “Twelve and older are all eligible if we have supply.“

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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