West Virginia expands vaccine incentive program with grand prize of $1 million dollars

West Virginia

WEST VIRGINIA (WDVM) — States across the country have been going to great lengths to try to encourage residents to get their COVID vaccine. While West Virginia already has a vaccine incentive program, Governor Jim Justice has announced new prizes for vaccinated residents.

“We’re going to draw for college scholarships for kids, multiple college scholarships for our kids, 10 Rocky Ridge F-150 pickup trucks,” Gov. Justice explained during his COVID briefing on Thursday. “We’re going to do exactly what Ohio has already done, but we’re going to make a few West Virginians millionaires before this is we can do that, but we got to get you vaccinated.”

On Thursday, a 22-year-old woman in Ohio won a million dollars in her state’s vaccine lottery program and Gov. Justice responded to the press circulating the Buckeye State’s incentive program.

“I don’t see any absolute way that we in West Virginia need to sit back and let Ohio dominate the news,” Gov. Justice said.

Under the already existing vaccine incentive program, over 20,000 West Virginians ages 16 to 35 will receive either a $100 savings bond or gift card for the same amount from the state.

Matthew Yanni is a Martinsburg resident who has already received his full dose of the vaccine. He is optimistic about the new prizes and hopes it will encourage others to get their vaccine.

“Well, I’m happy that the governor has come up with some incentives to try to encourage more people to get vaccinated, I guess just being protected from the Coronavirus wasn’t enough,” Yanni said.

Vic Crespin is a student at Marshall University student who also believes the incentive program will be beneficial for other students.

“I think it can be very beneficial for some people, especially college students. That could be really good for them,” Crespin said. “Because like, you know, they’re doing their part for like their own school and stuff but be it’s like, you know, scholarship money is always nice to have.”

While some residents were supportive of the Governor’s expansion of the program, especially the new prizes, others were not ready to follow suit. Jennifer Plazyk was not planning on getting the COVID vaccine however after her daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, she had no choice.

“I think it’s just overstepping. I think people are going to get the vaccine for themselves,” Plazyk said. “I just think the government just needs to lay low and let the people take care of their own health issues.”

Cindy Folmar has no plans to get the vaccine regardless of any incentive or prospect of winning.

“Actually I would not have any amount of money given to me for [the] COVID shot,” Folmar said. “I just am not in the place where I want to have that shot. It’s too new. And I just choose not to have it.”

The drawings for these larger prizes will begin on West Virginia Day, the state’s 158th birthday, on June 20th. Governor Jim Justice will also retract the statewide indoor mask mandate on the same day.

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