CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On Wednesday, Gov. Jim Justice described for a second time the carrot the state is dangling in front of West Virginia’s younger residents in an effort to encourage them to get a coronavirus vaccine.
The governor also offered clarification to an announced plan to give residents aged 16–35 $100 savings bonds as an incentive to get vaccinated.
“You have been vaccinated, and, and you are 16 to 35 years of age, you will receive the bond,” said Justice. “We will make it, absolutely, retroactive that anyone, anyone that has received these shots of vaccination will absolutely, absolutely get their bonds.”
Justice compared getting vaccinated to a patriotic act.
“Our young people 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, and they did it over, and over and over. Absolutely, what I’m asking for is not to go to war. I’m asking for something that could very well save your life,” said Justice.
“It is a way of patriotism that we all need extra doses of that today.”
As for vaccine figures, 704,441 people have received at least one dose, while 566,476 people are fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
“We’re still doing really good on first and second round together. We’re doing really not good on recruiting and getting additional people to the table to get their first shot,” said Justice. “So, that’s what we’ve gotta do.”
The governor said more than a third of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated, and more than two-thirds of residents 65 and older have gotten both doses. He added that 52.2% of all residents have gotten the first dose.
“If we will really get after this 16 to 35 years of age group, we’ll take that 52% number to 70 and, absolutely, maybe beyond, and we’ll get that done really, really quickly,” Justice said.
“All the medical community tells me, if we can get to that kind of number, we’ll shut this thing down. And, absolutely, as we get close to that, we’ll be able to get this mask gone,” said Justice, as he threw down his own mask onto his desk.
The governor then threw down the gauntlet with a challenge for the younger demographic to keep pace with older residents who are nearing an 80% vaccination rate.
“You, 16 to 35, you, no question, you are transmitting this thing now faster than anyone. There’s no question that I read 15 names today, 15 more dead. And, of those 15, we had a 47 and a 48 year old, a 56, 57 and a 59 year old and a 53 year old. How many of these we gonna have to put in body bags? How many are gonna have to die?” Justice asked.
“You know, 16 to 35 years of age, please, please understand if our most elderly can get to 85%, surely, surely to God above, you can get to 70.”
The governor also touched on other coronavirus figures in the state. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has recorded 2,673 coronavirus deaths. The DHHR adjusted down the number of deaths on Monday.
The daily percent positivity is 3.43%, while the cumulative percent positivity is 5.17%. There are 7,081 active cases and 142,385 recoveries, according to the DHHR.