West Virginia will give $100 savings bonds to residents ages 16 to 35 who get vaccinated against Covid-19.
The state’s Republican Governor, Jim Justice, announced the program as part of his ongoing initiative to get more younger residents vaccinated.
“We have vetted this in every way that we possibly can to be assured that we can use our CARES dollars to do exactly just this,” Gov. Justice said.
The incentive will be retroactive, meaning all West Virginians age 16 to 35 who have already been vaccinated will also receive a $100 savings bond.
“Our kids today probably don’t really realize just how important they are in shutting this thing down,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m trying to come up with a way that’s truly going to motivate them – and us – to get over the hump.”
The Governor went on to say that the goal is to get over 70% of West Virginia’s eligible population vaccinated. Of the 1.47 million West Virginians currently eligible, just 52% have received at least one dose to date, with demand for vaccines dipping in recent weeks.
The Governor noted that there remains plenty of room to increase vaccination totals among West Virginia’s 380,000 16-to-35-year-old residents.
“They’re not taking vaccines as fast as we’d like them to take them,” Gov. Justice said. “If we really want to move the needle, we’ve got to get our younger people vaccinated.”
The Governor added that if approximately 80% of West Virginians age 16 to 35 who have not yet been vaccinated choose to do so, the overall statewide vaccination rate will exceed 70% of the eligible population.
“If we can get to 70%, we’ll shut this virus down,” Gov. Justice said. “If we do that, the masks go away, the hospitalizations go away, and the deaths become minimal.”