West Virginia gives $ 100 to young people who get vaccinated: Coronavirus updates: NPR
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Young people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine in West Virginia will not only get protection from a deadly virus – they will also earn money.
The state will offer a $ 100 savings bond to anyone between the ages of 16 and 35 who get vaccinated, Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, told a briefing Monday. It’s part of an ongoing effort to get gunshots in the arms of the young residents, who have taken a long time to roll up their sleeves so far.
âOur kids today probably don’t really realize how important they are in bringing this to an end,â Justice said. “I’m trying to find a way that’s really going to motivate them – and us – to get over the bump.”
The initiative will apply retroactively to people in this age group who have already been vaccinated. It is funded with money from the CARES Act, with justice adding that officials have “checked this in every way possible.”
The vaccine rollout in West Virginia got off to a remarkable start earlier this year. Despite challenges such as a widespread lack of internet access, the largely rural state had managed to fully immunize such a large percentage of its eligible population by the end of February that if it had been a country, it would have ranked third in the world.
But as eligibility increased, the pace of vaccinations slowed. The state now ranks 29th in the country, according to NPR’s Vaccine Tracking, which indicates that 29% of the population has been fully vaccinated and 35.3% has received at least one dose.
West Virginia opened vaccinations to residents aged 16 and over in mid-March, but continues to prioritize vaccinations for people 65 and over. On Monday, Justice said, more than 78% of the elderly received at least one dose, while 68.5% were fully immunized.
Demand for vaccines has plummeted in recent weeks, with West Virginia Public Broadcasting noting that “most of those who wanted to be vaccinated have been, and other West Virginians just don’t want the vaccine, leaving local officials to health scramble to exhaust their expeditions. “
The state has therefore turned to vaccinating young people, who are now infected at significantly higher rates.
West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported earlier this month that people under the age of 20 accounted for 26% of all cases statewide, up from 16% during the pandemic. More than 30 school outbreaks were reported at the time, many of which were related to extracurricular activities and social events.
Justice said Monday that the 380,000 residents of the state aged 16 to 35 “are not taking vaccines as quickly as we would like them to take”.
“If we really want to move the needle, we have to get our youngest people vaccinated,” he added.
Justice’s goal is to vaccinate over 70% of West Virginia’s eligible population. He said if about 80% of people in this age group who have not yet been vaccinated choose to do so, the overall statewide vaccination rate will exceed that number.
âIf we can reach 70%, we will stop this virus,â he said. “If we do this, the masks are gone, the hospitalizations are gone, and the deaths are minimal.”
As of Monday, the state’s health department had recorded 151,671 total cases of coronavirus and 2,821 deaths since the start of the pandemic.