'Call to Arms': West Virginia Incentivizes Vaccination with Guns

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While many states are providing a chance to win free college tuition or a $1 million lottery as an incentive to get the COVID-19 vaccine, West Virginia is offering something a little different: guns.

Set to begin on West Virginia Day on June 20, the state’s 158th birthday, five custom-made “hunting rifles” and five custom-made “shotguns” will be raffled off weekly to vaccine-getters until Aug. 4, Forbes reported.

The efforts come as a part of Republican Gov. Jim Justice’s “Call to Arms” vaccine initiative, with the goal of getting 65 percent of eligible West Virginians to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by June 20.

According to the state’s Health and Human Resources Department, 51.2 percent of West Virginians have been partially vaccinated, while only 41.2 percent are fully vaccinated.

Along with the gun raffle, the state is also giving away pick-up trucks, cash prizes, and a “million-dollar grand prize” to go to one individual, according to a press release.

Justice urged West Virginians to get the vaccine in hopes of reaching the 65 percent vaccination goal.

“Some people will win trucks and scholarships and on and on,” he said, “but we’ve got to get you vaccinated first.”

These new incentives are meant to break through public hesitancy to get vaccinated, which a Morning Consult poll found to include 28 percent of West Virginians, one of the highest levels in the country.

MRC Merch

MRC Merch