June 2, 2021 -- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced new COVID-19 vaccine incentives on Tuesday, including a $1.5 million cash prize, custom-outfitted trucks, and custom hunting rifles and shotguns, according to Forbes.
Weekly lotteries will take place from June 20 to Aug. 4, with a drawing for five custom hunting rifles and five custom shotguns taking place on June 20 for Father’s Day and the state’s birthday. Any West Virginian who has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose will be eligible to register.
“The faster we get people across the finish line, the more lives we save. That’s all there is to it,” Justice said in a statement.
“If the tab just keeps running, the cost is enormous,” he said. “The hospitalizations are enormous. We have to get all of our folks across the finish line.”
The lottery also includes a $1.5 million grand prize, a $500,000 second prize, full scholarships to public universities in West Virginia, weekend vacations at state parks, and lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. Vaccinated residents ages 16-35 can also register to receive a $100 savings bond or gift card.
Not to be undone, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham unveiled a vaccine lottery that includes $10 million in cash prizes, topped by a $5 million grand prize.
Back in West Virginia, Justice announced Tuesday that a major milestone had been reached in his “Call to Arms” vaccine initiative. Now, 75% of West Virginians ages 50 and older have received at least one vaccine dose. Justice also set a goal to vaccinate 65% of all eligible residents by June 20, which is the state’s 158th birthday. So far, 59% of residents ages 12 and older have received at least one dose, according to the latest tally from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
On June 20, the state’s face mask requirement will be lifted for indoor spaces, Justice said. Until then, fully vaccinated West Virginians can take part in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or using social distancing guidelines, but unvaccinated residents still need to follow the statewide indoor face covering requirement.
West Virginia has about 4,550 active COVID-19 cases, with 570 new cases reported on Tuesday. Justice reported that there are now six active church-related outbreaks, and there are 11 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state.