FILE — COVID-19 vaccine syringe

A droplet falls from a syringe after a health care worker was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I., on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.

(The Center Square) – Nearly half of West Virginia’s residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the most recent numbers released by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services.

As of Monday afternoon, 881,592 doses have been administered, which cover 49.3% of the population. Nearly half of all doses were given to residents aged 65 or older. That age range has received 434,823 doses, which accounts for 72% of that age range. 193,497 adults in that range have been fully vaccinated.

West Virginia has administered 94.8% of the doses it received.

Vaccines are available for any resident aged 16 or older. However, those aged 65 or older will be prioritized until every person in that age group who wants a vaccine has received one. Gov. Jim Justice is encouraging younger West Virginians to take the vaccine.

“We’ve got more people in the ICU, we’ve got more people in our hospitals, we’ve got more active cases,” Justice said in a statement. “This thing is not going away without a last push on its side. But we can make it go away by getting vaccinated. So please, everyone, especially younger folks, listen to me when I tell you; you’ve got to get vaccinated.”

“Our medical experts are confirming that the COVID variants that are out there now are really starting to attack our younger folks, so we need to watch,” Justice said. “We’ve lost eight individuals since last week and, of those eight individuals, one was 42, one was 45, and one was 50.”

At the time of his statement, 2,696 have died from COVID-19 and there have been 143,733 cases in the state. There has been one death in the last 24 hours. The overwhelming majority of deaths come from older residents.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.