West Virginia will give $100 savings bonds to residents ages 16 to 35 who get vaccinated against Covid, Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday.
“Every single one of our young people — we’re going to give a $100 savings bond to every single one that steps up and takes their vaccines,” Justice, a Republican, said at a news conference.
About 52% of the state’s 1.5 million eligible residents have received at least one dose, according to the governor. If at least 275,000 of younger West Virginians get vaccinated, it will increase the state’s total to more than 70%.
Early in the year, West Virginia led the nation in terms of getting shots in arms. Now the state’s vaccination rate is on par with the rate across the country. About 54% of people 18 or older in the US have gotten at least one dose and 37% of them are fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Justice said he would use federal emergency funding provided by the CARES Act, which passed Congress in March 2020, to pay for the savings bonds. That relief package sent about $150 billion directly to state governments to help them fight the pandemic. States have until the end of this year to spend the money.
An additional $350 billion was allocated to states and local governments by the American Rescue Plan, a broad $1.9 trillion Covid relief package approved last month. States received separate funding streams that will go to aid schools, child care centers and low-income renters.
The federal relief money has provided three rounds of stimulus payments to Americans over the past year. Since March, more than 160 million households have received payments worth up to $1,400 per person.