West Virginia Offers COVID-19 Vaccines to State Basketball Tournament Attendees

West Virginia Offers COVID-19 Vaccines to State Basketball Tournament Attendees West Virginia Offers COVID-19 Vaccines to State Basketball Tournament Attendees Closeup of a man getting vaccinated by a medical healthcare worker. (Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via AP)

By Jeremy Frankel | Sunday, 25 April 2021 09:58 PM

COVID-19 vaccines will be available to anyone over the age of 16 who attends the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission’s girls and boys state basketball tournaments, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department announced Saturday.

Staff will be able to provide them before and during games both this week and next.

Dr. Sherri Young, health officer and executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said in the statement that “[E]veryone who can receive the vaccine should do so. We understand that parents and teenagers are busy, so this is one way we hope to make the process more convenient for them.”

The statement also noted that vaccines would be available by appointment at the area clinic.

President Joe Biden announced last week that the United States has administered 200 million vaccine shots and that 80 percent of people over the age of 65 have received at least one shot. Biden also said that while the early months of the United States’ vaccination effort targeted seniors and health workers, now everyone in the U.S. over the age of 16 is eligible for the coronavirus vaccine.

"To put it simply, if you've been waiting for your turn, wait no longer. Now is the time for everyone over 16 years of age to get vaccinated," Biden said.

The president also urged people to continue to get vaccinated and to not become complacent, saying that "[V]accines can save your own life, but they can also save your grandmother's life, your co-worker's life," and that "[W]e all need to mask up until the number cases go down, till everyone has a chance to get their shot. To Americans 16 years and older, it’s your turn now. Now. So go get your vaccine before the end of May. We can do this. And we’ll do this as long as we don’t let up."

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, a Republican, said last week that the state’s mask mandate would not be lifted until at least 70 percent of eligible West Virginia residents get the vaccine.

The Associated Press reported that state data show that 31 percent of eligible West Virginians are fully vaccinated while 39 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine.