West Virginians between the ages of 16 and 35 who get the Covid-19 vaccine will receive a $100 savings bond, the state’s governor announced Monday.
“Our kids today probably don’t really realize just how important they are in shutting this thing down. I’m trying to come up with a way that’s truly going to motivate them — and us — to get over the hump,” Gov. Jim Justice said during a news conference Monday.
People who are in the incentive age range who have already been vaccinated will also receive a $100 savings bond.
Katie Preece, 22, receives a Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccination at the University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia, on April 8, 2021.Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images / Sipa USA via AP
Justice, a Republican, said the state is using stimulus money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to pay for the bonds.
Justice said the goal is to get more than 70 percent of West Virginia’s eligible population vaccinated, which would be doable if 80 percent of the population between the ages of 16 and 35 got the shots.
“If we can get to 70 percent, we’ll shut this virus down,” Justice said. “If we do that, the masks go away, the hospitalizations go away, and the deaths become minimal.”
But younger people are “not taking vaccines as fast as we’d like them to take them,” Justice said. “If we really want to move the needle, we’ve got to get our younger people vaccinated.”
While 52 percent of West Virginians have received the first dose of the vaccine and 40 percent have been fully vaccinated, vaccine demand has started to decline in recent weeks, he added.