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Amid COVID-19 booster debate, West Virginia to check immunity of vaccinated nursing home residents

Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News on

Published in News & Features

“I argued strongly against vaccine mandates when the vaccine came out, but I am in favor of them now” for nursing home workers, Wasserman said.

California requires unvaccinated nursing home staffers to be tested regularly, requiring them to wear N95s. West Virginia requires all nursing home employees to get vaccinated or face twice-a-week testing.

In a joint statement in July, the FDA, the CDC and the National Institutes of Health said the government is analyzing laboratory data, clinical trial data and other data — which can include data from specific pharmaceutical companies — as they evaluate the need for booster shots.

“We continue to review any new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed. We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.”

In a press call with reporters, state health officials in Maine, Louisiana and Delaware on Thursday said they are paying attention to the booster shot issue and waiting for CDC guidance, but it’s not their top priority.


“Right now our focus is getting folks first doses, not third doses,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There will be a time for booster shots, but there are still folks who do not have a first dose and that is where our team is focused,” said Shah, also president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.


(KHN senior correspondents Jenny Gold and Markian Hawryluk contributed to this report. KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.)

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