CHARLESTON — Essential workers in West Virginia 50 years old and above are next in line to start being scheduled for a COVID vaccine, and that includes residents of other states who work here.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, director of the Joint InterAgency Vaccine Task Force, said that population will be included later this week as the state continues to work on 65 and above as well.

“We continue to make significant progress in our population,” he said Monday during the state’s pandemic briefing.

So far, more than 136,000 65 and over have received the first dose and more than 60,00 have also received the second dose.

“I don’t know how there could be a number you can be more proud of than that,” Gov. Jim Justice said, adding that they are potentially life-saving doses.

But anyone who wants to be vaccinated must first preregister with the state’s Everbridge system, online at vaccinate.wv.gov.

That includes out-of-state residents who work in West Virginia as well, said Andrea Lannom, Public Information Officer of the state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and Bureau for Public Health.

“For people who work in West Virginia but live out of state, they can preregister as long as they can provide proof of employment in West Virginia,” she said. “People will need to use their work address when preregistering in the system.”

Appointments for the vaccination are made through that system.

Hoyer said some counties continue to schedule anyone who had preregistered for the doses at the local level to get the vaccine, but all names will eventually be merged with the Everbridge system and appointments handled on the state level.

As of Monday, more than 252,000 had signed up to be added to the preregistration list.

Vaccine clinics are now being held at least weekly in all 55 counties.

A total of 405,839 doses have been administered in the state after receiving a total allotment of 424,200 doses from the federal government. The state now has a 95.7 percent of total doses administered with a total state population percentage of 22.6 as of Wednesday morning.

“Our goal always continues to be 100 percent,” he said. “We continue to lead the nation because of all of our great partners on the local and community levels, plus the great work of the National Guard, DHHR, and all the medical experts helping us in every way.”

West Virginia’s percentage remains among the highest such rates of fully vaccinated residents of any state in the nation.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline. com

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