West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced on Monday that the state will give $100 savings bonds to all residents between 16 and 35 who get the Covid-19 vaccine, The New York Times reports.
Justice said the plan was intended to motivate young people to get inoculated because “they’re not taking the vaccines as fast as we’d like them to take them.”
About 380,000 residents would qualify by age. People under 35 who have already received a shot are also eligible to receive the bond.
The state will use funds from the Cares Act to fund the program.
Justice said he “vetted this every way that we possibly can” to make sure the plan was allowed under the bill.
West Virginia struggles:
Despite seeing good success in vaccine distribution early on, the state has struggled to contain the spread of the virus.
West Virginia ranks 16th among states with the most new coronavirus cases and 12th in hospitalizations.
Justice said the state needs to stop the pandemic “dead in its tracks.”
Once that happens, he added, “these masks go away, the hospitalizations go away, the death toll and the body bags start to absolutely become minimal.”
State’s vaccines lag:
West Virginia administered more second doses than any other state and more first doses than any state outside of Alaska earlier this year but the state has lagged in recent months.
West Virginia is now in the bottom quintile of states with the fewest people who have received their first dose.
Justice said young residents could “always stand an extra dose of patriotism” and urged them to “accept that wonderful savings bond.”
The bond will accrue interest and can be cashed out at a later date.
“I hope that you keep it for a long, long, long time,” Justice said.