CHARLESTON, W.V. — The state of West Virginia is taking a different approach to encouraging its residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Gov. Jim Justice announced this week that the state’s vaccine incentives will include five custom hunting rifles and five shotguns, two custom-outfitted trucks, five lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, and 25 weekend vacations at state parks.
Like other states, West Virginia is also giving away cash prizes. A $1.588 million grand prize and a $588,000 second prize will be given out, as will two full scholarships to any higher education institution in the state.
The state’s vaccine incentive lottery will begin on June 20 and run through Aug. 4, according to the governor’s office. West Virginians who have been fully vaccinated will need to register to be entered to win the prizes.
These new incentives come after the governor announced that he would make his dog, Babydog, the mascot of the state’s vaccine lottery.
"If you won't do it for your family, you've got to get vaccinated for Babydog. That's all there is to it,” said Justice during a press conference.
ICYMI: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has made his dog "babydog" the mascot of the state's new vaccine lottery.
"She wants you vaccinated SO badly" pic.twitter.com/rTdtO7amb1
— Haleigh Hoffman (@HaleighHoffman) May 28, 2021
States across the country are using these kinds of prizes to incentivize getting vaccinated. The goal is to get as many people as possible vaccinated, so Americans are protected from the disease and the virus can’t spread as easily.
President Joe Biden has set a goal of having 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4. As of Thursday, 63% of adults in the country had gotten at least one shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).