West Virginia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Lottery Offers Free Guns
Gov. Jim Justice (R) has just released West Virginia’s “Call to Arms” vaccine incentive program, which will run from June 20 to August 4 and offer an array of prizes paid for by the federal pandemic relief fund. Justice reiterated “the prizes to me are secondary to the fact that we’re trying to save your life,” during a news conference on Tuesday.
Prizes include “a $1.588 million grand prize, a $588,000 second prize, full scholarships to any higher education institution in West Virginia, custom-outfitted trucks, weekend vacations at state parks, lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, custom hunting rifles and custom hunting shotguns.” All fully vaccinated West Virginians can register for the prizes.
The governor, an avid hunter himself, hopes to vaccinate “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.” This anniversary coincides with the governor’s proposed date to lift the statewide Indoor Face Covering Requirement for all residents of West Virginia.
Justice hopes to lower COVID cases in the state and ease the financial burden of the pandemic. “If the tab just keeps running the cost is enormous. The hospitalizations are enormous. We have to get all of our folks across the finish line,” he stated during his announcement on Tuesday.
This incentive program was announced just before President Joe Biden’s “month of action” launch, which was launched by the White House on Wednesday. Biden hopes to vaccinate 70% of eligible Americans with at least one shot by July 4 weekend. He supported state initiatives and highlighted Ohio’s vaccine lottery.
Brewing company Anheuser-Busch has announced that if the U.S. reaches Biden’s 70% goal, it will “buy Americans 21+ a beer.” Biden voiced his support for the initiative, “get a shot and have a beer” at a press conference on Wednesday.
Incentive programs such as Justice’s have proven successful. In Ohio, vaccine rates went up 55% for residents between the ages of 20 and 49, and went up 94% for residents between the ages of 16 and 17.