CHARLESTON, W.Va. – After saying Friday that the state had “hit a wall” when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced a plan Monday to encourage the state’s younger residents to get their shots.
The plan calls for $100 savings bonds to be given to anyone in the 16-35 age bracket, using CARES Act funds. This applies to anyone in that age group who has already gotten a shot and anyone who gets one moving forward, Justice said.
Using a whiteboard, the governor went through the math he is using to drive his though process.
Of an eligible population of 1,470,000, 52%(764,400) have been vaccinated so far, Justice said.
There are 380,000 16-25 year-olds in the state, the governor continued and he is hoping that 275,000 will get vaccinated, which would mean more than 70% of the state’s total population have gotten shots.
If that percentage does not improve dramatically, Justice will be reading the names of dead and will have to continue the state’s mask mandate, he warned.
Vaccinations will be offered at the upcoming state basketball tournament, in Charleston, Justice said.
A clinic was also set up at Saturday’s WVU Gold-Blue spring football game, where 16 athletes, along with fans, were vaccinated.
Addressing a question about trepidation related to concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, state officials said that accommodations may be made to get residents the type of vaccine they’d prefer.
Other ideas state officials proposed are:
- Increasing access to the vaccines, taking it to the unvaccinated
- Offering vaccines at fairs, festivals, church parking lots, sporting events, bars, restaurants, shopping center and parks
- Using existing organizations, like Meals on Wheels, to distribute vaccines
- Weekly and/or monthly drawings offering a grand prize for those who are vaccinated
- Setting up vaccine stations at every school
- Vaccinating hospital patients upon discharge
- Get local physicians to engage with community clubs and organizations
- Reach out to the younger population on social media platforms like, TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram
- Involve local EMS
- Maybe even go door to door
- Pay pharmacies to stay open later
- Turn vaccine coordination into school service projects
“We’ve got to shut it down West Virginia. That’s all there is to it,” Justice concluded.
State officials have been reviewing death certificates and found that 162 deaths were not COVID-19 related and will be removed from the state’s coronavirus data, they said.
Gov. Justice set to turn 70:
Governor Justice will celebrate his 70th birthday on Tuesday, he said.