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Justice: Vaccine incentive lottery to begin June 20; $1M prize tops weekly drawings

MORGANTOWN – Gov. Jim Justice offered more details of his new vaccine incentive lottery program Tuesday.

The program will run from June 20 – which is the state’s birthday/unmasking day and Father’s Day – through Aug. 4. The first weekly drawing for prizes will be June 20.

He asked the question many have asked, and answered it.

“Why in the world would you have to give away something to get somebody vaccinated? Unfortunately, it’s the way of the world in a lot of situations,” he said.

But there’s a benefit to it, he said. “The faster we get them across the finish line the more lives we save.”

Justice listed the prizes to be offered: Two 4-year scholarships for ages 12-25 to any institution in West Virginia; two new custom outfitted trucks; 25 weekend getaways to state parks; five lifetime hunting and fishing licenses; five custom hunting rifles and five custom shotguns; and the biggie – $1 million for someone.

Aug. 4 will culminate with two additional grand prizes, as part of Beat 588 … Bad: $1,588,000 and $588,000.

To be eligible, a resident must have had at least one vaccine shot, Justice said. Those who wish to participate will have to register online; the registration web link is being prepared.

Prizes will carry tax liability, he said, and information will be provided to the winners.

Justice said he expects a run on first shots as people seek to get their names into the pool for the drawings.

A new name has been devised for the lottery, he said: Save a Life and Change Your Life.

In other COVID news, Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch relayed updated travel guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fully vaccinated people can travel with minimal risk, he said.

Those not vaccinated, he said, should get tested one to three days before domestic travel and three to five days after completing the trip.

Justice and COVID-19 Czar Clay Marsh answered a question about vaccine booster shots.

Justice said, “Whatever the experts come out with, we’ll be ready.”

Marsh added that the booster program is in the planning stages, and they’re waiting upon the CDC to make its recommendations.

Marsh also fielded a question on the World Health Organization – WHO – renaming the various COVID variants with Greek letters. He said WHO is trying to avoid stigmatizing the countries where the variants originate.

He also agreed that WHO’s move will confuse many who are used to the original names: U.K., South African, Brazil, India and so on. While WHO’s intent is good, Marsh said, CDC hasn’t signed onto it and officials will keep using the original names.

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