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Braxton Vaccine Clinic (copy)

Health care workers operate in the gym of Gassaway Baptist Church in Braxton County on Feb. 4.

West Virginia officials are reaching out to residents in six rural counties that are lagging in signing up for COVID-19 vaccinations, state COVID-19 interagency task force director James Hoyer said Monday.

He said the government is working with several groups, including the state Council of Churches and the COVID-19 Advisory Commission on African American Disparities to contact residents in Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Grant, Gilmer and Monroe counties to encourage them to register for vaccinations.

“The good thing is, we have identified that we have an issue and a challenge in these counties,” Hoyer said during Monday’s state COVID-19 briefing.

He said it is particularly important to work with the Council of Churches, since residents of rural counties tend to get much of their outreach from their local places of worship.

Hoyer noted that residents who do not have internet access to use the website can call the COVID-19 hotline to pre-register for vaccinations. That number is 1-833-734-0965.

Hoyer discussed the outreach effort as active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to trend down statewide. They peaked in late December and early January from a post-Thanksgiving holiday surge.

Also during Monday’s briefing:

  • Through Sunday, 136,068 residents age 65 or older have had their first vaccinations, while 60,142 have had both shots of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, officials said. That’s about 37% of the roughly 370,000 West Virginians in that age group.

The state continues to administer more than 100% of first vaccines received, a factor of being able to get an extra, sixth dose out of vials of the Pfizer vaccine.

Reach Phil Kabler at, 304 348-1220, or follow @PhilKabler on Twitter.