CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDVM) — With kids returning to school, the potential for virus exposure — especially with the highly infectious delta variant — has gone up. To get more people vaccinated, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is starting a new initiative to press forward with his goals by focusing on a slightly different demographic: Grandfamilies.
A “grandfamily” is made up of children who are — for whatever reason — being raised by their grandparents. And this vaccine initiative seeks to keep these families together by keeping them COVID-free. The new program aims to not only protect the families from the coronavirus, but the state will also provide $150 vouchers for back-to-school supplies.
“These kids — at the school or wherever they may be — could very well be bringing this right back to the grandparents … We need these kids vaccinated,” said Justice.
To receive the voucher, the grandparents and all eligible children age 12 and older in each family need to have received at least one vaccine dose.
According to officials, around 19,000 West Virginia children currently live in grandfamilies.
“What if our grandparents began dying off due to COVID because they didn’t get vaccinated? What would we do in West Virginia with 19,000 homeless children?” said Bonnie Dunn, co-director of Healthy Grandfamilies.
Registration to receive the vouchers will begin on Tuesday, September 7th. In addition to registering for the initiative, families will also need to be enrolled in the Healthy Grandfamilies program.