Editorials, Opinion

Babydog already did it, so we may as well just do it

While we’ve been watching COVID case numbers climb and monitoring the situation in Afghanistan, Babydog has been busy.

In case you missed it, Gov. Jim Justice announced his English bulldog’s initiative will continue as Do It For Babydog Sweepstakes Round 2.

It will be another six weeks of drawings in a lottery meant to encourage West Virginians to get the COVID-19 vaccine — a possible consolation prize for everyone who now has to get vaccinated because of employer mandates. Prizes are supposedly meant to target a younger demographic and include:

  • Luxury high-end sports car (one per week)
  • Custom fishing or pontoon boat (one per week)
  • $150,000 toward the wedding of your dreams (one per week)
  • Free gas for 10 years (two per week)
  • WVU football or basketball season ticket package for two (three per week)
  • Marshall football or basketball season ticket package for two (three per week)
  • 2021-22 season passes for two to a ski resort in West Virginia (five per week)
  • Premium ATV or side-by-side (two per week)
  • Top of the line zero-turn lawn mower (two per week)
  • Full four-year scholarship to any public institution in West Virginia (ages 12-25) (five per week)

After the announcement, The Dominion Post’s Will Dean took to the streets and asked WVU students and Preston County residents if the governor’s — excuse us, Babydog’s — incentives impacted their decision to get the vaccine. Everyone he spoke to said no.

Now, we wouldn’t say that’s a statistical sample representative of the whole state, but it’s anecdotal evidence that supports what we’ve been saying: The lottery has little-to-no bearing on vaccination rates, and the $6 million-$8 million spent on this round alone would be much better spent on other health initiatives — like funding counties’ chronically underfunded health departments.

That said, Justice and Babydog have already spent the money, so we might as well make the most of it.

West Virginians who have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can register for the chance to win one of the weekly prizes at DoItForBabyDog.wv.gov or they can call 833-734-0965. Even if you registered for the first round of prizes, you must register again to qualify for this round, and if you were one of the lucky individuals last time, you are not eligible for this lottery.

Registration is open now — with the first drawing scheduled for Aug. 30  and  the winners to be announced Sept. 2 — and closes Oct. 3 — with the final winners expected to be announced Oct. 7.