WEST VIRGINIA — West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is pushing for a fourth dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be made available to residents in the Mountain State with the threat of the omicron variant rising.

In his latest COVID briefing, Governor Justice revealed he sent a letter to the CDC asking them to follow the vaccination plan of Israel who has started to administer a fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine to medical personnel, people with weakened immune systems, and those over the age of 60.

He and the state’s COVID Task Force want the go-ahead for the fourth dose as they are concerned for hospitals that could become overrun by an upcoming surge of the virus on the horizon.

State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh explained that data from Israel is promising and hopes the request will be approved.

“In early data from Israel in seven days of getting a fourth Pfizer vaccine for those four months after their first boost dose, they have seen an increase in antibody levels go up by five times which will give us more immune protection against infection, hospitalization, and death,” Dr. Marsh explained.

Dr. Marsh also explained that the potential availability of the fourth dose will hopefully mitigate the stress on hospitals and protect their ability to care for patients with other acute medical needs. Gov. Justice and State Health Officer Dr. Ayne Amjad echoed these sentiments.

Dr. Amjad clarified the sudden decrease in active case numbers while confirmed cases continue to rise. According to the state DHHR COVID dashboard, the daily percent positivity stands at 17.36% with almost 350,000 cases and almost 12,000 active cases. However, the nearly 12,000 active cases is a sharp decline from the day before where the state recorded almost 18,000 active cases. This is due to the updated quarantine policy put forth by the CDC.

But despite the change in quarantine policy and the hesitancy to instate a temporary work-from-home recommendation or order, the state COVID Task Force continued to stress the importance of receiving a COVID vaccine as well as a booster if you are eligible.