While shots have been going in arms quickly for the older populations in West Virginia, health officials are now concerned about some of those in the younger age groups.

According to the state’s website, more than 890,000 doses have been administered — and almost 360,000 people are fully vaccinated.

People under the age of 45 only account for 17 percent of those.

And across the state, health officials are seeing positive cases rise among that age group.

“The greatest number of new cases is in the 18s up to 40 years old,” C. Clark Milton, D.O., the director of Corporate Health, Wheeling Hospital’s Occupational Medicine Department.

“Those are the ones that think they’re the most protected, and they don’t really realize their vulnerability. So they’re a little less inclined to get the vaccine.”

Throughout the pandemic, the concern has been those with immunodeficiencies and the older populations.

“Herd immunity” has been a term tossed around since the beginning of the pandemic, but Milton says that can’t be achieved unless everyone gets the vaccine.

Right now in West Virginia, anyone 16 and older is eligible to get the shots, and Milton says they will continue to encourage those folks to do so.

“We have younger people in the hospital that have been in the ICU, they have even died from this,” Milton said. “So it’s very important for our younger people to realize how serious this disease is and the importance of vaccination.”

If you would like to schedule a vaccine appointment at Wheeling Hospital, click here.