June Leffler Published

Justice Wants CDC To Approve COVID-19 Vaccine Fourth Doses ASAP


Federal health agencies have said two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine aren’t enough protection, at least for those vaccinated more than six months ago. Now, West Virginia officials are questioning if three doses are even enough.

Gov. Jim Justice would like West Virignians to be able to get up to four shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’re going to request and make a recommendation in the state of West Virginia. Those that are 50 and older that want the fourth dose, or those that are essential workers, can get that fourth dose,” Justice said.

Justice is making that request to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because it is the agency to ultimately sign off on a possible fourth dose.

Justice said Thursday he would write a letter to the federal health agency. His office did not respond to WVPB’s request for the letter.

This kind of request isn’t new for Justice. Last year, he pleaded with the federal government to authorize boosters long before the CDC was ready to do so.

Currently, 54 percent of eligible West Virginians are vaccinated; 36 percent have received a booster.

State officials are following research and health policy from Israel. It recently began offering fourth doses of the Pfizer vaccine to residents 60 and older who got their first booster shot more than four months ago.

State coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh said Israel is “pushing the envelope of how the vaccines can be used to help people live better longer and save lives.”

A study out of the country shows a fivefold jump in antibodies after a second booster.

However, global health experts continue to push back on the proliferation of boosters, saying wealthy countries are hoarding doses while poorer countries do not have enough supply to adequately administer first doses.

So far, the CDC has said that only immunocompromised people are eligible for a fourth dose.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.