covid-19 vaccine

West Virginia to Give $100 Savings Bond for Youth Vaccinations

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said the mask mandate could be lifted if 70% of eligible residents get vaccinated

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Get a shot, get a savings bond.

West Virginia aims to entice residents age 16 to 35 to get a coronavirus shot with the promise of a $100 savings bond.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice said Monday the move was intended to “jump-start” immunizing the demographic that officials say is most likely to be spreading the virus. There are about 380,000 West Virginians in the age range.

"Our kids today don’t really ... realize just how important they are in shutting this thing down," the governor said.

The state will use federal CARES Act money to cover the costs.

Justice said he chose a savings bond over cash for its “patriotic” factor and because he wants young people “to really see and understand that they've done something that's really meaningful.”

A bond may take years to mature to reach its full value.

The incentive was announced as the state tries to turn around its slow vaccination program. Officials are also considering proposals to make vaccine clinics more ubiquitous by holding events at schools, fairs and more businesses.

Justice has previously said the mask mandate could be lifted if 70% of eligible residents get vaccinated. Currently, 47.5% of residents age 16 and over have received at least one dose, state data shows.

“We need to move from our older population to our younger population,” Justice said. “The young people are the key right now.”

The total number of statewide positive cases dipped 12% compared to the previous week. The number of COVID-19 related deaths statewide fell for the third straight week.

During a news conference, Justice painted a picture of what the state would look like if young people did not vaccinated. He said he would have to keep reading off names of the dead.

"What’s going to happen is, every other day when Jim walks in here, he’s going to be reading names," he said. "There’s no way to get around it."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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