Justice: State’s $ 10 million raffle failed to boost immunization rates, but will continue | New


Gov. Jim Justice said the state’s seven-week, $ 10 million vaccination incentive draw will continue, although it has so far failed to prompt large numbers in Virginia -Unvaccinated westerners to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“You could say, well, they’re not doing terribly,” Justice said of the competition’s failure to dramatically increase vaccination rates in the state. “In all honesty, if we get another 500, 1,000, 20,000, how many lives have we saved? How much money, how many hospitalizations? We have to try everything and everything that is available to us.

Since justice officially announced on June 1 the raffle for vaccination incentives – including weekly prizes of $ 1 million in cash, vans, guns and other freebies, culminating with a draw on August 4 for $ 1.588 million and $ 588,000 – the state administered a total of 27,040 COVID-19 vaccine doses in June, averaging 1,288 doses per day, according to the ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard of Health and Human Resources.

(At its peak in the first week of March, the state was administering over 20,000 doses of vaccine per day.)

The state’s immunization rate actually declined rather than increased over the month, despite the vaccination raffle publicity.

During the first seven days of June, the state administered 11,034 doses, an average of 1,576 doses per day, according to the department.

Over the past seven days, that number has dropped to 5,298 doses, or an average of 757 doses per day. In contrast, during the last seven days of May, the state administered 11,362 doses, for a daily average of 1,623.

Justice assumed on Tuesday that these numbers would be even lower without the competition incentives.

“If we fell to 5,298, how many would we have without the lottery?” ” He asked. “Pick a number, how many? Two thousand? Tell me this, what are those 3,298 people worth? “

West Virginia’s late vaccination figures contrast sharply with Ohio, which saw a 45% increase in vaccinations after Governor Mike DeWine announced a state vaccination lottery featuring five weekly prizes of $ 1 million. dollars.

The courts of the day cited the Ohio vaccination lottery as a model for the West Virginia raffle, saying, “We’re not going to let a state like Ohio get ahead of us. They have never been ahead of us.

Justice said during Tuesday’s COVID-19 state briefing that the remaining six raffles will go as planned, even if the incentives continue to fail to improve the state’s vaccination rates.

“We have to keep trying. There is no reason to cancel it, ”he said.

As to the more than $ 10 million cost of the competition, Justice said, “It’s taxpayers’ money, but it comes from the federal government. It is not coming out of our pocket in West Virginia.

Justice said the raffle was funded using unused federal stimulus funds from the CARES Act. He said on June 17 that pickup trucks and custom firearms were purchased using non-competitive contracts, citing an exemption from tendering requirements in state procurement laws. during declared states of emergency.

To date, the governor’s office has yet to release a list of vendors offering these prices, or disclose how much the state pays these vendors.

At Tuesday’s briefing, justice said West Virginia people who chose not to be vaccinated were also entered into a lottery – the death lottery.

“You have a choice,” he said as he finished Tuesday. “Either the Babydog Lottery or the Death Lottery.”

The state raffle is named after Justice Bulldog Babydog.

Justice awarded Sunday with great fanfare the first round of the draw during a televised ceremony on the north steps of the Capitol.

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