Health officials remind people of importance of COVID-19 vaccine if in high risk group

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Across the country, people are now able to get either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Each vaccine requires two shots in your upper arm.

Director of Pharmacy Services at Raleigh General Hospital, Jude Ziolkowski, wants to remind people the vaccine does not contain the virus.

“They use a different technology in which the messenger RNA instructs the cells to make spike proteins and they do not contain any live virus. They actually don’t contain the virus at all, it’s just the protein that would attract the antibodies so that it would recognize should the virus be introduced to the body,” Ziolkowski said.

Last week, Governor Jim Justice announced West Virginia residents 80 and older could receive the vaccine. Justice announced more than 8,300 West Virginians in that age group were vaccinated so far.

Ziolkowski said anyone in the high risk groups should get the vaccine whenever it becomes available to them.

“It is very important that we realize that even if it’s not 100% effective, that it may prevent the virus from full impact and lessen the actual morbidity or how traumatic it could be to the body,” Ziolkowski said.

Ziolkowski said people still need to wear their face masks to protect others.

“You can still take it home to others,” Ziolkowski said. “You can pass it around because it is still in your body, it just the reaction that you’re having is not what you would normally see with this illness, but it doesn’t mean that people that haven’t been vaccinated won’t get it from you.”

The state does have a limited number of vaccines, so remember to be patient while waiting for the supply to come in.

On Tuesday, Jan. 5 the Beckley-Raleigh County Health Department announced it will be receiving additional vaccines this week for the 80 and over population in Raleigh County.

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