Governor Jim Justice voiced dissatisfaction with West Virginia’s immunization rate, alerting residents that until they were vaccinated against coronavirus, “we’re going to keep lining the body bags.”
The governor made the remarks during a coronavirus press conference on Friday when he urged residents to be inoculated. Since Wednesday, 74 people have died as a result of the coronavirus, he added, The Hill reports.
The governor’s bleak remarks come as West Virginia battles with a spike in COVID-19 cases as a result of early vaccine success.
On Friday, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced that there had been 2,320 new COVID-190 instances and 57 deaths.
As of Friday, the total number of active cases of COVID-19 in the state is standing at 29,744. According to West Virginia Metro News, the number of active infections has hit a new high, surpassing the previous high of 29,257 instances set in January.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 40.1 percent of the population of the Mountain State has been completely immunized. West Virginia’s overall immunization rate is 54.4 percent lower than the national average.
Vaccines, according to Justice, should not be imposed. He did, however, issue a warning that more people are likely to succumb to the virus unless the vaccine was widely distributed.
Meanwhile, after unanimously rejecting a demand for broader clearance, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration of the United States agreed on Friday to suggest coronavirus vaccine booster doses for Americans aged 65 and older and people at high risk of serious disease.
The group also advised the FDA to include healthcare professionals and others who are at high risk of work-related exposure to the coronavirus, such as teachers, in the study, Reuters reports.
On the third round of immunizations, the FDA is likely to reach a decision shortly. The panel’s suggestion is not binding on it, but it will be taken into account.