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All West Virginians Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine

Vials of undiluted Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are  prepared to administer to staff and residents at the Goodwin House Bailey's Crossroads, a senior living community in Falls Church, Virginia.
Vials of undiluted Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to administer to staff and residents at the Goodwin House Bailey's Crossroads, a senior living community in Falls Church, Virginia.

Gov. Jim Justice has removed all eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 vaccine. That means everyone 16 and older can now get their shot.

Justice announced Monday at a virtual press briefing that the state and local health departments will continue to prioritize those 65 and older. So far, 70 percent of seniors have received at least one dose. Justice announced last week the state will open three fixed vaccination clinics for seniors specifically.

Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said local health departments are tasked with combing through the state’s central pre-registration list, looking for seniors. The list, also called the Everbridge system, has more than 400,000 names on it.

Last week, local health departments were responsible for contacting every West Virginian 80 and older who was registered through the department’s list. Local health officials did the same for African Americans who are 65 years and older that was

This week they’re tasked with contacting everyone 70 and older.

Many state residents who are under 50 have been getting vaccines through pharmacies, sometimes without an appointment.

Crouch says that’s because pharmacies are administering doses outside of the state’s purview, and registration list.

“They don’t use Everbridge,” he said.

West Virginia opted out of the first federal program under Donald Trump that pushed vaccines directly to pharmacies. The state did join President Joe Biden’s program which sends doses to Walgreens, Fruth and other federally qualified pharmacies. The move guaranteed more doses for West Virginia.

“There is a little bit of a disconnect with regard to who to call for the public,” Crouch said. “We want you to get your vaccination anywhere you can get your vaccination, as quickly as you can get that shot.”

To get your vaccine, first register online at the Department of Health and Human Resources. While you wait for a call, go ahead and contact pharmacies near you and your health department to schedule an appointment.

Small clinics targeting Black West Virginians, veterans, miners, and other vulnerable and underserved populations are also underway.

Justice also announced all fairs and festivals can take place starting in May.


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