West Virginia is organizing a gun giveaway to convince people to get their COVID jabs
West Virginiais giving away guns in a lottery to incentivize people to get their COVIDshots.
- Five hunting rifles and five shotguns will be given away through a series of lucky draws.
- Million-dollar jackpots and college scholarships were offered by other states as vaccine
West Virginia is giving away guns to incentivize more people to get the
Five hunting rifles and five custom shotguns are among the numerous prizes that the state is rolling out as part of its drive to get more jabs into its residents' arms. The guns will be given away in multiple lucky draws, the first of which will be held on Father's Day on June 20.
The state is also offering a $1 million cash prize during its Father's Day draw, which coincides with the state's 158th birthday. Also up for grabs are two full, four-year scholarships that students aged 12 to 25 can win.
The initiative was announced by Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday, who said that residents need only get their first COVID vaccine to enter the draw. Those who have already received their vaccines are also eligible.
"You could win something that would be phenomenal," Justice said.
West Virginia joins the ranks of other states and organizations giving away freebies to motivate people to get their COVID vaccines. States like Ohio and Maryland have also rolled out million-dollar lotteries for vaccinated residents. Meanwhile, New York on May 26 offered 50 teens full college scholarships to get the COVID shot.
An April poll by the Morning Consult pegged West Virginia as one of the most vaccine-hesitant states in the country, as 28% of West Virginians polled said they were unwilling to get the COVID jab.
According to the New York Times vaccine tracker, around 41% of the US's population is fully inoculated. The Times reported as well that around 34% of West Virginia's residents had received their second dose of the vaccine, while 41 received their first COVID shot.
A compilation of public health data from the Centers for Disease Control's WONDER database noted that West Virginia has the eighth-highest rate of gun violence in the US. The state logged a yearly average of 320 deaths and 760 gun-related injuries from 2015 to 2019. It also has the fourth-highest rate of gun-related suicides and suicide attempts, with an average of around 235 gun-related suicides each year.
The rate of gun deaths in West Virginia is the 13th-highest in the country and increased 18% between 2010 to 2019.
West Virginia, with its population of around 1.8 million, ranks in the middle in terms of COVID deaths per 100,000 residents.
Thus far, state health authorities have logged a total of 161,858 cases and 2,797 COVID deaths, while the US has recorded over 33 million COVID cases and more than 594,000 deaths during the pandemic.
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