WV Department of Health: COVID Vaccines Available for Those aged 65+

In a recent press release, The West Virginia Department of Health (DH) said that in accordance with the CDC’s new recommendation, those West Virginians who are aged 65 or older are eligible for an additional dose of the updated COVID vaccine.

DH Secretary Sherri Young said, “as the data consistently shows, those who are older and immunocompromised are the most vulnerable to the severe effects of COVID-19. It is for this reason we encourage those individuals to strongly consider getting an additional dose.”

The presser went on to say that only 36 percent of West Virginians over the age of 61 are up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines, and more than a hundred West Virginians died from COVID-19 in the last year, with the average age of those individuals being 73.

Under current recommendations, those 65 and older can receive an additional dose of the vaccine at least four months after the previous shot. The updated vaccine targets both the original strain of the virus and newer variants, offering broader protection.

While the DH did not say specifically that there is no mandate requiring people to get this vaccination, that is correct, there is no vaccine mandate. So, while there maybe differing opinions about the effectiveness or safety of COVID vaccines, if you are 65 or older, you might want to do your own research and make your own decision, or better yet, consult with your own physician about whether or not to get this updated vaccine.

To find updated COVID-19 information and the nearest vaccination location, you can call the WV COVID-19 Vaccination Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.

In a separate press release, the West Virginia Department of Human Services (DoHS,) states that West Virginia has been selected as one of six states to participate in a federally funded policy academy to ensure 988 Suicide and Crisis Response Lifeline systems for children and adults with intellectual and development disabilities, brain injury, other cognitive impairments, and individuals who cannot rely on speech alone for communication.

“This selection is a significant milestone for West Virginia, placing us firmly ahead of the curve in our dedication to serving our residents comprehensively,” Cynthia Persily, Ph.D., Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Human Services said. “By participating in this policy academy, we reaffirm our commitment to proactively address the needs of our communities, especially those with disabilities. This opportunity not only showcases our state’s leadership but also positions us to spearhead innovative approaches that ensure every individual receives the care and support they deserve.”

The funding for this is provided by the Federal “Link Center” and the Administration for Community Living which recognizes that the WV DoHS has demonstrated a commitment to building services systems to ensure that, regardless of a person’s disability, they are able to get the treatment and support that they need. As states are building 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline systems, there is a growing recognition of the need to ensure that these services are available to everyone. This policy academy will provide a framework for leadership at the state level to initiate and sustain needed strategies to meet the immediate needs of children and adults requiring interventions available through 988 and crisis response, but also to forge cross system strategies to enable longer-term supports and services, if needed.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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