With fewer West Virginians receiving a coronavirus vaccine lately, the state has come up with another way to make it worth their while. Anyone age 16 to 35 who gets the vaccination will receive a $100 savings bond, CNN reports. West Virginia's vaccination rate has fallen since leading the country early in 2021, and the state is ahead of only nine others in the share of residents who have had at least one dose, per the New York Times. West Virginia has 380,000 people 16 to 35; getting shots into 275,000 of them would lift the state's overall vaccination rate to at least 70%. Gov. Jim Justice is counting on money as a motivator for young people, saying "they're not taking the vaccines as fast as we'd like them to take them."
Justice said that the program will be paid for with federal CARES Act money and that he's made sure it's a legal use of the funding. Eligible recipients who already have had their shots will still get a savings bond. "Our kids today probably don't really realize just how important they are in shutting this thing down," the Republican governor said in a news release. He asked young people to "accept that wonderful savings bond," which can be cashed in at a later point for $100, plus interest. If West Virginia can reach the 70% threshold, "We'll shut this virus down," Justice said. "If we do that, the masks go away, the hospitalizations go away, and the deaths become minimal." (Read more West Virginia stories.)