Gov. Jim Justice announced on Friday that more than 1,000 health professional students from colleges and universities across the state have volunteered to help further bolster West Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout efforts.
These students — members of the all-new West Virginia Vaccine Administration, Collaboration, and Support (WV VACS) Team — will receive training to support vaccination clinics. The initiative is a partnership between the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, the West Virginia National Guard, and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).
“This is really, really great stuff,” Justice said. “Our higher ed folks are stepping up. Our students are stepping up; they’re getting on-the-job training. We thank them in every way.”
To date, more than 1,000 students from 32 health sciences programs across West Virginia have opted in to help with vaccination clinics throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Since March 17, 2021, the WV VACS Team has already deployed 112 students to assist with clinics.
The remaining students are currently in the training process and will be deployed to communities throughout the state in the coming weeks.
Prior to working in communities, students complete an online curriculum that is designed to enhance their knowledge about COVID-19 vaccines and their administration. Once fully trained, groups of students work under supervision with local health providers to give vaccines and support data entry. Higher education institutions determine whether students participate in this voluntary program for either course credit or community service.
Also on Friday, Gov. Justice reported that West Virginia has now successfully administered 861,394 doses after receiving a total allotment of 930,090 doses from the federal government to date; an overall administration rate of 92.6%.
West Virginia currently boasts a first dose administration rate of 98.5% and a second dose administration rate of 85.0%.
First doses: 518,543 administered / 526,570 allotted
Second doses: 342,851 administered / 403,520 allotted
Vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians age 16 and older. However, West Virginians who are age 65 and older will continue to be prioritized first until all state residents in this age range who desire the vaccine have been vaccinated.
To date, 239,726 West Virginians age 65 and older have chosen to be vaccinated – over 72% of West Virginia’s population in this age range – including 189,019 who are now fully vaccinated.
Any West Virginian aged 65 and older are urged to pre-register for an appointment by visiting vaccinate.wv.gov or calling the West Virginia vaccine info line at 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.