CHARLESTON, W. Va. — State Coronavirus Tsar Dr. Clay Marsh said on Wednesday he can’t understand why more elderly West Virginians have been delaying getting their booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking at Governor Jim Justice’s news conference about the coronavirus, Marsh said about 550,000 people have been fully vaccinated in West Virginia, but only 48,000 booster shots have been administered.
“I’m very focused on how do we get our older West Virginians (to do booster shots)? These are people who absolutely should run to the fire and we’ll run to them if they raise their hands at all,” Marsh said.
Gov. Jim Justice said those who have been fully vaccinated have made good decisions, but not getting a booster is a bad decision.
“If we don’t get a bunch of people taking the booster shots — just write it down — some of those people are going to die,” Justice said. “You mark it. That’s all there is.”
Marsh said the over-50s may not care too much about getting the booster.
“The concern that I’m increasingly concerned about is that we’re losing focus and for some reason people might not be concerned anymore,” Marsh said.
Marsh said studies show that vaccines begin to lose potency six months after the second injection. He said studies show that boosters give the vaccine strength for another nine months.
Marsh said he has no explanation for the low percentage of boosters being given.
“Personally, I don’t understand why people aren’t doing that now, I really don’t,” Marsh said.
He said there could be another significant increase.
“We could lose a lot more people in our hospitals. Right now they are stretched as far as they can be stretched,” Marsh said.
InterAgency Task Force director Jim Hoyer said those over the age of 18 who have had two doses of the vaccine and it’s been six months, “need to look for the booster.”