As states throughout the U.S. launch campaigns to try and convince residents to get the Covid-19 vaccine— with million dollar lotteries, college scholarships, free beer, and amusement park tickets topping the list — West Virginia has come up with a lottery scheme all its own: giving the newly-vaccinated the chance to win not just money, but rifles and shotguns.
The state will give away five custom hunting rifles and five custom shotguns through its lottery, with the drawings taking place on June 20 for Fathers Day.
There will be a series of lottery drawings taking place weekly from June 20 through August 4, for which any West Virginian who’s received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will be eligible to register.
The lottery will also give one resident $1 million—as other states have done—along with prizes like full-ride scholarships, custom trucks and lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.
In addition to its lottery, West Virginia is also giving away $100 in savings bonds or gift cards to everyone ages 16-35 in the state who is fully vaccinated.
51.1%. That’s the percentage of West Virginians who have so far received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the state’s health department—or approximately 915,000 people—with 41.2% fully vaccinated. The New York Times’ ranking of state vaccination data finds the state has among the lower vaccination rates in the country, and polling shows there are high rates of vaccine hesitancy among its residents. A Morning Consult poll conducted between March 20 and April 19 found 28% of West Virginians were unwilling to get the Covid-19 vaccine, among the highest share of any state in the country.
West Virginia’s giveaway isn’t the only vaccine incentive related to guns: Illinois has also set up a mobile vaccination site at a shooting range in the state and is giving away 100 free targets to anyone who gets the vaccine there.
West Virginia’s lottery is among a deluge of vaccine incentives states have been offering residents to get inoculated, ranging from free beer in New Jersey and free Six Flags tickets in Illinois to million-dollar cash lotteries in states like Ohio and Oregon. The state’s prizes targeting demographics like gun owners could also help to combat vaccine hesitancy among Republicans, who polling has repeatedly shown are disproportionately more likely to refuse the vaccine than other demographics. There are signs the vaccine incentives have been working, as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine reported before the state’s first $1 million lottery drawing that the cash prize had helped to boost Ohio’s vaccination rate by 45% after it declined before the lottery was announced.
Ohio’s $1 Million Lottery Boosted Vaccinations By 45%, Gov. Says As More States Follow Suit (Forbes)
Illinois Giving Out 50,000 Free Six Flags Tickets: Here Are All The Incentives States Are Offering To Get Vaccinated (Forbes)
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? More States Roll Out Massive Lotteries To Incentivize Vaccinations (Forbes)
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