CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The vaccination push was again the focus of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s virtual COVID-19 briefing, Monday.
When you add the almost 400,000 state residents under age 16 to the more than 681,000 people who have gotten first doses of COVID-19 vaccines, meaning the state is two thirds of the way to getting the state vaccinated.
While trying to explain the state’s vaccination goals, Justice said: “I fully expected that there will be 250,000 people in West Virginia who turn their nose up at this and say, no, no, no.”
The governor said his own basketball team declined to be vaccinated.
Describing those who have so far have chosen not to get vaccinated as “hardheaded,” Justice continued: “bless their hearts, we all have the right to decide, but I’m a firm believer that we don’t have the right to endanger someone else.”
Justice and state officials again urged churches, businesses, civic groups and sports teams to contact the state to get their groups vaccinated.
The state have plenty of vaccines available, officials said. They also said that they are preparing to be ready to vaccinate 12 to 15 year-olds when vaccines are approved for that age group.
When asked if incentives should be considered to get more people to get vaccinated, state officials mentioned that some businesses were offering incentives, like paid days off, to employees. Justice took a harder line to the question: “should we be paying somebody to try to save their life?” he asked.
Gov. Justice reiterated that the state’s mask mandate will continue, paraphrasing a doctor who likened COVID-19 to children playing with glitter and that glitter getting all over everything.
“The ticket to getting rid of masks is one word: vaccine,” Justice said.
Justice also announced that he will be issuing a new executive order Monday that will get rid of many of the 91 COVID-19-related executive orders he’s signed throughout the pandemic, including removing social gathering limitations. You can read the full executive order here.