CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice attempted to re-focus the state on the importance of the COVID-19 pandemic during his Tuesday briefing: “this thing’s not over and absolutely it can take your life. Just go get a test. Take our advice please. We’ve got plenty of supplies and we’re waiting on you. We’ve got to get you vaccinated.”
Justice then detailed positive vaccination numbers:
- 76% of residents above age 50 have gotten at least one shot
- 85.4% of residents 65 and older have gotten their first shot
- 61.4% of the state’s eligible population have received at least one. Justice’s goal was to be at 65% by June 20
The governor said the high vaccine numbers among the state’s older population is those folks showing their wisdom, which younger people should pay attention to.
Vaccine Incentive Sweepstakes update:
Justice also gave an update on his “Do it for Babydog” vaccine incentive sweepstakes program, which 185,000 West Virginians have now registered for, he reported. The first drawing will be held on June 20, with the last day to register being Wednesday, June 16 at 11:59 p.m.
“If you’re dilly dallying around, you’re blowing a chance to be a millionaire,” Justice said to those who have not yet been vaccinated.
On June 20, the first set of winners will be announced during a 1:00 p.m. celebration on the steps of the state Capitol, in Charleston. The celebration, which will be broadcast statewide, will mark the reopening of the Capitol, to the public, as well as the end of the state’s mask mandate.
Justice is still looking at a return-to-work incentive for those receiving unemployment, but has abandoned the idea of having businesses match the incentive, for fear that bidding wars would further harm businesses that are suffering.
When asked about continued efforts to save the former Mylan Pharmaceutical facility, in Morgantown, that is set to close next month, Justice compared it to the Fairmont Medical Center. “I saved that hospital,” the governor said and continued that he is “too hard-headed to give up” on Mylan. Gov. Justice is “holding out real hope for a pharmaceutical company” or other opportunities, to take over the facility. State officials are trying to incentivize potential suitors, including use stimulus dollars, he said.