Justice announces another sweepstakes for vaccinated West Virginians

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As West Virginia continues to have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, Gov. Jim Justice announced he will hold another sweepstakes, in which those with vaccines will be eligible to win prizes.

Although the elderly population is getting vaccinated at high rates, younger West Virginians have been less likely to take the vaccine. Death and serious illness are rare for younger people, but the risks increase if someone is older, has a compromised immune system or other health problems.

“We are trying to incentivize more and more West Virginians to get vaccinated, and especially our younger folks,” Justice said in a statement.

Round two of the giveaways will span six weeks and include the following weekly prizes: five full-ride scholarships to any state-based college or university, one luxury sports car, four ATVs, one fishing or pontoon boat, 10 years of free gas for two people, $150,000 toward a dream wedding for one person, six season ticket packages to WVU or Marshall sporting events and five season lift tickets to ski resorts within the state.

The first drawing will be Aug. 23 and all West Virginians who have received at least one dose of the vaccine can register online.

Despite giving away millions of dollars worth of cash and prizes, vaccine rate increases were static throughout most of the first round of the lottery. The state only saw a sharp increase when the delta variant began to spread throughout the state.

As of Friday morning, more than 61% of the general population has received at least one dose of the vaccine and 50.1% of them have been fully vaccinated. Everyone 12 years old or older is eligible to receive the vaccine.

More than 70% of those 12 and older have received the vaccine and 57.7% have been fully vaccinated. Nearly 84% of those who are aged 50 or older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and nearly 72% are fully vaccinated. More than 90% of those aged 65 or older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and nearly 80% have been fully vaccinated.

Justice has urged older people to encourage younger people to receive the vaccine. There are no vaccine mandates in West Virginia and there is no mask mandate. The governor has said he might impose a mask mandate for K-12 schools if the delta variant becomes a bigger problem, but is leaving it up to local school divisions for the start of the school year.

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