West Virginia seeks permission to offer 4th vaccine dose

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West Virginia is seeking permission from the federal government to offer a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to at-risk people, making it the first state to do so. 

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice sent a letter to the Biden administration requesting the FDA and CDC authorize the state to offer a second booster to people 50 and older and essential workers at least three months after receiving their first booster, according to Jan. 6 news release. 

"Just like West Virginia has led the nation time and again throughout this pandemic, Israel has led the world," Mr. Justice said. "And, right now, Israel is offering a fourth dose to an even bigger population — people who are four months out from their Pfizer or Moderna booster shots. What we want to do is walk hand-in-hand with Israel." 

Israel became the first country to broadly roll out fourth doses for healthcare workers and people 60 and older Jan. 2. Preliminary findings cited by Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during a Jan. 4 news conference indicate a fourth shot of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine sparked a fivefold increase in antibodies. 

Early on in the nation's vaccine campaign, West Virginia was among those with the most successful vaccine rollouts, having administered about 64 percent of the doses it had received as of Jan. 12, 2021. Now, the state is among those with the lowest booster rates, according to CDC data. As of Jan. 5, 18 percent of West Virginia's fully vaccinated population had received their booster.


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