Gov. Jim Justice stated on Tuesday that West Virginia would boost its vaccine incentive program to get more individuals immunized against the coronavirus.
In addition to a $1.588 million grand prize, all citizens who receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into a drawing for college tuition, custom vehicles, and hunting rifles. The program will be funded by federal pandemic relief funding and run from June 20 to August 4.
“The faster we get people across the finish line, the more lives we save. That’s all there is to it,” Justice said. “If the tab just keeps running, the cost is enormous. The hospitalizations are enormous. We have to get all of our folks across the finish line.”
In April, Justice announced that West Virginians aged 16 to 35 who were vaccinated would be eligible for a $100 savings bond. After a good early start, the state’s immunization effort has recently dropped dramatically.
According to the state, 51.1 percent of West Virginians have got at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Justice hopes that the state’s new incentives, including a $588,000 second prize, full scholarships to any higher education institution in West Virginia, custom-outfitted trucks, weekend vacations at state parks, lifetime hunting, and fishing licenses, custom hunting rifles, and custom hunting shotguns., will increase the number of people who get the vaccine.
West Virginians who have received all of their vaccines must register to be eligible to win the newly announced rewards at a later date.
The vaccine incentive program has taken off across the country as governors try to persuade individuals hesitant to get vaccinated.
As of Wednesday night, 63 percent of the adult population had received at least one shot, and 52 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By July 4, President Joe Biden wants at least 70% of the adult population in the United States to have received one vaccine shot.