West Virginia to give $100 savings bonds to residents under 35 who get vaccine
CHARLESTON, West Virginia, April 29, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) has promised 16-to-35-year-olds “a $100 savings bond to every single one that steps up and takes the vaccine” in an effort to encourage widespread uptake of the jab among the young.
During a Monday press briefing alongside West Virginia’s health officials, Justice announced that the state has now vaccinated a little over 52 percent of its vaccine-eligible population (16 years of age and older), accounting for roughly 767,000 people, mostly middle-aged and above.
Justice explained that he wants to see the percentage of vaccinated residents grow dramatically, and that young citizens are holding the state back from achieving that goal: “One of the things we know that is happening right now, we know for sure that kids — 16 all the way up to 35 years of age — are having a real transmission issue with this disease.”
“Our kids today don’t really probably realize just how important they are in shutting this thing down … we’ve got to do something about this,” he said.
Recognizing the difficulty to “get kids across the finish line with this,” Justice suggested implementing a $100 savings bond incentive for 35-year-olds and under who take one of the experimental coronavirus vaccines available under the Food and Drug Administration’s “emergency use authorization” protocol.
The initiative is to be funded by the money received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in March 2020 and signed into law by then-President Donald Trump. “We have these dollars available,” Justice said.
The governor issued a warning to West Virginians, saying that “if we continue on the path of 52 [percent vaccinated] then at some point in time we’ll get to 53 or 54; then it will be tougher, and we’ll get to 55 or 56. What’s going to happen then is, every other day, [a health official] is going to be reading names,” alluding to lists of deaths being recorded through lack of vaccinating against COVID-19. “There’s no way around it,” he added.
Justice expressed his fear that as much as 40 percent of his state will decide that “‘we don’t want to take the shot. We just aren’t going to do it.’ And if that be the case, we’ve got 588,000 [people] that are sitting on the side-lines, they’re not taking the shot.”
“So, we are going to be faced with wearing these masks that nobody likes for a long, long, long time,” threatened Justice, before saying that “we’ve got to do something about this,” working the latter phrase into something of a refrain throughout his speech.
Though the billionaire statesman lamented young people in West Virginia not receiving vaccines “as fast as we’d like them to take them,” he did suggest that there are “lots and lots of ways to get there.”
“I’m trying to come up with a way that’s truly going to motivate them — and us — to get over the hump,” Justice added.
“I truly believe that the good ideas that I come up with are coming from the good Lord as I’ve said many times — and I’ll take credit for the bad ones — but I do believe this is a good one.”
Justice claimed to rely upon the current guidance of “all of our health experts,” who advised him that “if we can get to 70 [percent vaccinated] right here, we’ll shut this thing down.”
On account of this advice, the governor estimated that if 80 percent of 16-to-35-year-olds “step up” to take the vaccine, then 275,000 more people will have taken the jab on top of the 767,000 already vaccinated, bringing the total vaccinated population figure to 71 percent in West Virginia.
“If we do that … If we stop it dead in its tracks these masks go away, the hospitalizations go away, the death toll and the body bags start to absolutely become minimal,” Justice promised. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest guidelines for vaccinated individuals, however, contradict Justice’s understanding, advising such people to still wear face masks in all indoor venues.
In addition to doling out a financial prize to those who come forward for a vaccine following Justice’s announcement, the governor has pledged to provide the gift retrospectively to those under 35 who received the vaccine before learning of the incentive.
Emboldening his efforts to convince as many people as possible to receive a COVID jab, Justice followed President Joe Biden’s lead, describing the act of vaccinating, as well as keeping U.S. savings bonds, as “patriotic,” even suggesting that young Americans “can always do with an extra dose of patriotism … a real dose of patriotism from the standpoint of a savings bond.”
Additional measures to assist vaccine uptake include paying pharmacies to open later and using social media, “whether its TikTok or Instagram or Snapchat … to be able to target our younger folks.”
Justice, previously a Democrat during the 2016 gubernatorial election cycle, attempted to quell any fears people may have about the numerous reports of side effects emerging after taking one of the available coronavirus vaccines, explaining that “our medical experts are going to tell you over and over … just how safe these vaccines are. They are safe beyond belief; they are safe in every way beyond absolute belief.”
According to Justice, there is little reason for anyone to be concerned about the jabs. “Think about the downside of the vaccination: it’s next to nothing,” he said, downplaying the growing log of debilitating ailments and deaths.
Data recorded in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), on the other hand, paints a rather more grim picture, with a total of 86,080 adverse events reported to the system until April 16, including 3,186 deaths and 9,405 serious injuries.
Despite this, Justice did not relent, offering young West Virginians “a certificate that is a savings bond that is your part of stepping up, a certificate that is telling you how much you mean to West Virginia, how much you mean to your grandparents and your parents, and all those you are intermingling with in transmitting something that you may not even know that you got.”