West Virginia Gives Away Guns, Trucks & Cash as Vaccine Lottery Prizes

Tony Heaton of Falling Waters receives a coronavirus vaccine during a community vaccination event in Martinsburg, West Virginia, March 11, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

West Virginia will give away guns, trucks and cash to incentivize state residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Governor Jim Justice announced Tuesday.

Drawings for a new vaccine incentive lottery program will run from Father’s Day on June 20 to August 4. During the first drawing on Father’s Day, the state plans to give away five custom hunting rifles and five custom hunting shotguns.

Justice said West Virginia will also give out two brand-new custom outfitted trucks and five lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. Vaccinated residents stand to win one of 25 getaways to the state’s parks.

The initial drawing will also include two four-year scholarships to any state educational institution for winners between the ages of 12 and 25. The state will also give away a $1 million grand prize.

All residents who receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as residents who have already been vaccinated, will be eligible to win, the governor said.

“To be eligible, you have got to get your first shot,” Justice said. “When I start through these prizes … there’s going to be a run on people getting their first shot. So go get ’em. Go get ’em so you’ll be eligible where we can draw your name, and absolutely you could win something that would be phenomenal.”

With 51.1 percent of its population having received at least one dose of the vaccine, West Virginia has outperformed the national figure of 50.5 percent, according to data from the West Virginia government and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The lottery announcement comes one week after Justice said young adults aged 16-35 would be eligible for a savings bond or $100 gift card through the state government once they are vaccinated.

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