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Vaccinations for Wetzel Seniors

By Hannah Morris - Staff Writer | May 12, 2021

As of May 9, about 32% of eligible West Virginia residents have been fully vaccinated. As vaccination rates are slowing, the Wetzel County Committee on Aging is urging Wetzel County residents 60 years and older to get vaccinated in order to open back up to enjoy trips and activities again; protecting seniors is their top priority.

State Coronavirus Czar, Dr. Clay Marsh, spoke about the percentage of vaccinated residents required to safely lift the mask mandate. “As we target 65% of our vaccine-eligible population with at least one shot, 75% of our over 50-year-old population who’s vaccine eligible with at least one shot, and then 85% of our over 65-year-old population with at least one shot, we believe that we will then have the ability to safely to be able to remove the mask mandate…”

In the previous Covid-19 briefing on May 7, Governer Jim Justice announced the statewide mask mandate will be lifted on June 20, 2021, also known as West Virginia Day.

Justice stated, “We believe that all West Virginians 12 years of age and older will be eligible to take the vaccine soon, and by June 20th, we project that 65% of all eligible West Virginians will have the first dose at that point in time, 75% of our population that’s 50 and above will have the first dose at that time, and 85% of our population that’s 65 and above will also have the first shot at that time, so that’s the date we’re going to go with. It just coincides perfectly with the celebration of this absolutely incredible State on its birthday.”

According to the CDC, Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective; these vaccines have undergone intensive safety monitoring, and about 260 million vaccine doses have been administered in the United States.

While the CDC is still learning how well the vaccines prevent the spread of the virus and overall protection, it is guaranteed to offer immunity and prevent hospitalization from Covid-19. One is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

The Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines use a new approach to vaccination, using mRNA to trigger an immune response without requiring a weak or inactive virus. According to the CDC, the mRNA teaches cells to make a protein that triggers the immune system to produce antibodies. The CDC also states that mRNA never enters the nucleus of a cell, meaning it will not affect DNA.

Fully vaccinated individuals can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without masks, travel in the United States without needing to be tested or self-quarantine, and do not have to get tested if exposed to the virus unless experiencing symptoms.

However, it is still recommended to wear masks in public settings or around high-risk individuals, avoid large gatherings, follow workplace guidances, and continue to watch out for symptoms of Covid-19.

If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, you can contact your healthcare provider, visit the CDC website, or access peer-reviewed medical journals for trustworthy and up-to-date information.