CHARLESTON — During Wednesday’s COVID-19 press briefing, Gov. Jim Justice continued to emphasize the importance of having younger West Virginians “step up” and get vaccinated.
“West Virginians from 16 to 35 years of age are transmitting this thing faster than anyone,” Gov. Justice said. “How many people are we going to have to put in body bags? How many people are going to have to die?”
“Absolutely, you are the key to this whole thing,” Gov. Justice continued. “You have to step up. It could very well save your life or a loved one’s life, and we’ll send you a savings bond on top of that.”
The Governor echoed his announcement Monday that, in order to encourage more vaccinations among younger residents, West Virginia plans to use a portion of the State’s first allocation of CARES Act dollars to offer a $100 savings bond to each person from 16 to 35 years old who decides to get their vaccine.
During Wednesday’s briefing, the Governor clarified that incentive will be retroactive, meaning all West Virginians ages 16 to 35 who have already been vaccinated will also receive a $100 savings bond.
“If you have been vaccinated and you are 16 to 35 years in age, you will receive the bonds,” Gov. Justice said. “You shouldn’t be thinking, ‘I could get vaccinated today, but they aren’t up and running on these savings bonds.’ Just go get vaccinated. We will make it retroactive so that anyone in this age range that has received their shots will absolutely get their bond.”
Of the 1.47 million West Virginians who are currently eligible, just 52% have received at least one dose to date. The Governor’s goal is to get more than 70% of West Virginia's eligible population vaccinated.
“What will that do for us? Well, our medical experts tell us that if we get to that number, we’ll shut this pandemic down, we’ll be able to get rid of the masks and get life back to normal,” Gov. Justice said. “This is our chance to stop this pandemic right here. Let’s not let all these folks that we’ve lost die in vain. Our young people have had to stand up a lot of times over the years in West Virginia. Most of the time they were standing up to go to war. I'm not asking for you to go to war. I’m asking you to do something that could very well save your life, or save the life of your mom, your dad, your grandparents, and all your loved ones.”