CHARLESTON (WVDN) – Gov. Jim Justice and members of the West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership announced that, last week, the United States FDA authorized the use of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 who are at least five months removed from the completion of their primary series of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
As a result of this authorization, the FDA is now encouraging booster doses for all Americans over ages five and older.
“This stuff is not going to go away easily, but it’s something we can live with if we are all properly vaccinated,” Justice said. “You have a lot of smart people – medical experts – telling you to get yourself and your family properly vaccinated and boosted. I’m begging you to heed their advice.”
Second booster shots are recommended for all West Virginians ages 50 and over who are also at least four months removed from their first booster dose, as well as certain younger immunocompromised individuals ages 12 and older.
All West Virginians who qualify can get a second booster dose anywhere vaccines are available.
The state’s free COVID-19 Vaccination Due Date Calculator – the only tool of its kind in the nation – has been updated to determine whether people are eligible for a second booster dose.
On Thursday, Gov. Justice reported that there are now 2,079 active cases of COVID-19 statewide; up by 115 cases since his previous briefing on Monday and the first day with over 2,000 active cases since March 5.
“Think about this: we’re getting hundreds of new positive cases every day, but we also have far more at-home test kits than we’ve ever had. So, if people are testing positive but not reporting the results, we may even have more positive cases that we aren’t even aware of,” Gov. Justice said. “We’ve got to be super careful. If we’re not, this thing could whiplash right back around on us.”
Over the past month, the number of active cases in the state has more than quadrupled. Hospitalizations have increased slightly in the same timeframe, while the number of patients in ICUs and patients on ventilators have leveled off.