Vaccination incentive program set

Staff Report

Gov. Jim Justice with Babydog, who will serve as the mascot of the state’s vaccination incentive lottery program.

Gov. Jim Justice with Babydog, who will serve as the mascot of the state’s vaccination incentive lottery program.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice | Courtesy

CHARLESTON — During Thursday’s briefing, Gov. Jim Justice announced the State of West Virginia will soon be giving away a $1 million grand prize, additional cash prizes, college scholarships, pick-up trucks, and much more through a series of upcoming lottery drawings for West Virginians who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“There are going to be so many wonderful prizes that you can win, it will blow you away,” Gov. Justice said. “We are going to make a few West Virginians millionaires before this is over. Some people will win trucks and scholarships and on and on, but we’ve got to get you vaccinated first.”

According to a news release from the governor’s office, he announced that the first lottery drawing will be held on West Virginia Day, June 20; the state’s 158th birthday.

Specific details about the incentive package are still being finalized. The Governor plans to announce additional details next week. However, he added that all West Virginians who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to enter to win one of the many prizes that will be made available.

“Not only are a bunch of people going to win all kinds of great stuff, but, by getting vaccinated, it’ll protect your life and it’ll protect your family and friends all around you,” Gov. Justice said, adding that the slogan for the program will be “Save a life; change your life.”

Gov. Justice was joined for Thursday’s briefing by his English Bulldog, Babydog. The Governor said that Babydog will serve as the mascot of the vaccination incentive lottery program.

“If you won’t do it for me, if you won’t do it for your family, you’ve got to get vaccinated for Babydog,” Gov. Justice said. “She wants you vaccinated so badly.”

Also on Thursday, Gov. Justice offered a reminder of his recent announcement that online registration is now open for his “Beat 588…Bad” West Virginia Strong Vaccine Incentive Program.

All West Virginians ages 16-35 who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are now able to register online to receive either a $100 savings bond or a $100 gift card.

The $100 incentive is retroactive, meaning all West Virginians ages 16-35 who have received the COVID-19 vaccine at any point are eligible.

Since registration first opened last Thursday, a grand total of 20,527 registrations have been submitted.

Gov. Justice recently modified West Virginia’s face covering requirement to align with updated CDC guidance, which says that anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, regardless of crowd size.

The lifting of the face covering requirement only applies to those who have been fully vaccinated; meaning that at least two weeks have elapsed since the administration of a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or that at least two weeks have elapsed since the administration of a first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement is still in effect for all West Virginians who are not yet fully vaccinated, and will remain in effect for these individuals until June 20, 2021.

Face coverings must still be worn where required by federal law. Additionally, any private business or school system can still require individuals to wear a face covering.

As part of the Governor’s recently announced “Call to Arms” vaccine initiative, State COVID-19 pandemic response leaders have set goals of vaccinating 65% of all eligible West Virginians, 75% of West Virginians age 50 and older, and 85% of West Virginians age 65 and older with at least one dose by West Virginia’s 158th birthday on June 20, 2021; the same day that the Governor plans to lift the Statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement for all residents.

According to the CDC, currently authorized vaccines in the United States are highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against symptomatic and severe COVID-19. Additionally, a growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection or transmit COVID-19 to others.

COVID-19 vaccinations are now available to all West Virginians ages 12 and older.

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are urged to visit or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Free COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be held at several West Virginia state parks and forests this coming Memorial Day weekend for employees, employees’ families, and all park guests. The first of these clinics begin tomorrow, however, dates and times may vary by location. To find a vaccination clinic near you, visit the West Virginia State Parks COVID-19 Travel Alert webpage.

At the direction of Gov. Justice, West Virginia continues to expand vaccine access in innovative new ways, including setting up vaccination sites at several high-traffic locations across the state, offering vaccines through senior organizations, collaborating with hospitals and healthcare facilities to vaccinate patients, communicating vaccination information with younger West Virginians through social media and streaming services, and much more.

In addition to clinic locations, vaccinations continue to be made available at Walgreens locations, the Med Shoppe/Leader network of pharmacies, Walmart locations, and additional independent pharmacies throughout the state as part of the federal pharmacy partnership in West Virginia.

West Virginians can visit for assistance in locating and securing an appointment at one of these federal pharmacy partners.

The Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) on COVID-19 vaccines continues to ask manufacturers and businesses across the state to increase vaccine access for employees and their families by reaching out to the JIATF to organize vaccination clinics at their facilities. Additionally, church leaders are still urged to contact the JIATF for help organizing vaccination clinics for interested members of their congregations.

Anyone interested in organizing one of these vaccination clinics is asked to contact the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965.

Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.

Gov. Jim Justice with Babydog, who will serve as the mascot of the state’s vaccination incentive lottery program. Jim Justice with Babydog, who will serve as the mascot of the state’s vaccination incentive lottery program. Office of Gov. Jim Justice | Courtesy

Staff Report