CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – With COVID-19 numbers in the Mountain State continuing to rise, West Virginia’s state health officials are urging people to get vaccinated.
During his semi-daily press briefing Wednesday, Aug. 18, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and his COVID-19 response team said they were glad to see the state reach a milestone of more than 70% of eligible West Virginians receiving at least one dose of a vaccine. However, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer (Ret.), director of the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force, said as of Wednesday only half of those who are eligible for the vaccine between the ages of 18 and 29 have begun the vaccination process.
To encourage more younger people to get the vaccine, the “Do it for Babydog” vaccine lottery is coming back for a six-week period, this time geared toward prizes for young people. This time, the state will be giving out five full-ride scholarships to any higher education institution in the state per week to West Virginians between the ages of 12 and 25, for a total of 30 scholarships over the course of the lottery.
Justice says other prizes include high-end luxury sports cars; four ATVs, side-by-sides, or top-of-the-line zero-turn lawnmowers; a custom fishing boat per month, and $150,000 to go toward dream weddings; free gas for 10 years, season ticket packages to WVU sporting events and season ski lift passes.
Registration opens Monday, Aug. 23 and the first drawing will take place Aug. 31. Drawings will take place each Tuesday for the next six weeks. Justice says those who registered for the first round of the “Do it for Babydog” vaccine lottery must register again to be eligible for the new round of the lottery.
To create a focus on vaccinating the younger population, Justice also said a new vaccination campaign is in the works after the “Do it for Babydog” vaccine lottery wrapped up last week. He said the new campaign, which will still feature Babydog, will focus on the younger eligible population.
“We’re gonna go back out on the road and give a bunch more stuff away and try to incentivize and talk to our kids and try to someway, somehow get more and more across the finish line,” Justice said.
More details on this program will be announced on Friday, the governor says.
Health officials across the state are urging West Virginians to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has even added an additional community drive-thru COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic this Saturday, Aug. 21 after the CDC listed Kanawha County as red on its Data Tracker Map for COVID-19.
As of Friday, Aug. 20, all of West Virginia’s 55 counties are listed as high risk by the CDC. This means the counties have had 100 new cases or more per 100,000 persons in the past seven days and/or a percentage of 10% or higher in positive Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests during the past seven days.
Those 12 years and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. for more information on the vaccine or to find a vaccine site near you, visit vaccinate.wv.gov or call 1-833-734-0965.