Coronavirus latest: West Virginia calls on residents to win guns with Covid-19 shot

West Virginia is giving vaccinated residents a chance to win guns as part of a lottery aimed at increasing vaccination levels in the state.

Jim Justice, Governor, has announced that several prizes geared toward West Virginia’s popular outdoor lifestyle will be available in the state’s first vaccine lottery, which will be drawn on June 20, Father’s Day and the state’s 158th birthday.

Residents who have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will have a chance to win one of five custom hunting rifles or one of five custom shotguns, Justice said at a press conference Tuesday.

Other prizes in the June 20 raffle include two dedicated trucks, five lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, and 25 weekend getaways to West Virginia state parks.

The June 20 portfolio is complemented by the comparatively most vanilla prize of $1 million in cash and two full scholarships to any institution in West Virginia for residents ages 12-25. Provide details at the time of awarding those awards.

After this first draw, the state plans to donate $1 million per week for five consecutive weeks. The final drawing will then take place on August 4, with a jackpot of $1.588 million for one vaccinated resident and $588,000 for the runner-up. (The amounts reflect the state’s “Beat 588 Bad” campaign, which refers to 588,000 West Virginia people who are reported to have expressed some level of reluctance to receive the vaccination.)

“The faster we get through people, the more lives we can save. If the tab continues to operate, the cost will be enormous. The recovery is tremendous. We have to get all of our personnel to cross the finish line.”

Justice was among the first state governors to consider incentive plans to increase vaccination rates. A plan was announced last week to make vaccinated residents aged 16 to 35 eligible for a $100 savings bond or gift card, a scheme development first revealed in late April.

West Virginia has given at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to 40.6 percent of its residents, according to data released May 30 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This puts it 42nd among the US states and compares to the national average of 50.5 percent.

The state ranks 39 in the United States with 34 percent of its total population fully vaccinated, compared to the national average of 40.7 percent.

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