West Virginia to give $100 savings bonds to residents under 35 who get vaccine.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced on Monday that any West Virginian age 16 to 35 who gets vaccinated will receive a $100 savings bond, in an effort to get more young residents inoculated.
The state, according to Justice, will use the money it received from the CARES Act, the COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress last March, to pay for the savings bonds.
Young West Virginia residents, according to Justice, are not being vaccinated “as fast as we’d like them to take them,” which is why he is spearheading the savings bond plan.
“If we really want to move the needle, we’ve got to get our younger people vaccinated,” he continued at a press briefing.
According to Justice, West Virginia has 380,000 residents ages 16 to 35.
The governor said his team has “vetted this in every way that we possibly can to be assured that we can use our CARES dollars to do exactly just this.”
The plan, Justice noted, will be retroactive, so West Virginia residents ages 16 to 35 who have already received their vaccine will be eligible for a $100 savings bond.
Justice said he is implementing this initiative to get the state and its young residents “over the hump” in its effort to recover from the coronavirus.
“Our kids today probably don’t really realize just how important they are in shutting this thing down,” 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,” he added.
According to Justice, 52 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose, which is well below the governor’s goal of getting more than 70 percent of West Virginia’s eligible population inoculated.
“If we can get to 70%, we’ll shut this virus down,” Justice said. “If we do that, the masks go away, the hospitalizations go away, and the deaths become minimal.”
Justice also rolled out other recommendations to increase vaccinations in the state, according to WKBN 27, including visible clinics in front of schools, using programs like “Meals on Wheels” to inoculate residents and paying pharmacies to remain open later.
West Virginia expanded vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older on March 22.
This weekend, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department announced that residents can get COVID-19 vaccines at two state basketball tournaments being played this week.
Sherri Young, a health officer and executive director of the department, said the move was made in an effort to make vaccinations “convenient” for parents and teenagers.