Any West Virginian between the ages of five and 18 who has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can now register for the third round of Gov. Jim Justice’s inventive program.
Although the governor has already spent millions of taxpayer dollars in the first two rounds of the sweepstakes, the state’s vaccine numbers have been among the lowest in the country. The program is intended to incentivize people to get the vaccine by offering the chance for rewards.
The newest giveaway, which began allowing registration Wednesday, will give away prizes on Nov. 15, Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13. This round of giveaways will be focused on education.
In each of the weeks, 25 people will win $10,000 in an Educational Savings Fund. In each of the first three weeks, one person will also win $50,000 in an Educational Savings Fund and one school will win a $50,000 check to host a party with the governor and his dog, Babydog. In the final week, one person will win $100,000 in an Educational Savings Fund and one school will win a $100,000 check to host a Christmas Party with the governor dressed as Santa Claus and Babydog dressed as a reindeer. The state will also give out 100 lifetime hunting and fishing licenses each week.
Any person under the age of 18 must receive parental consent to receive the vaccine and to register for prizes.
The Education Savings Funds will be awarded through a 529 plan, which is managed by the State Treasurer’s Office. The money is invested and grows over time and can be used for any education-related expenses, not just higher education.
Justice also awarded $50,000 checks to the four middle schools with the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates this week. The governor is granting 12 checks to public and private middle schools and high schools with the highest vaccination rates.
“We went all over the place and the kids were fabulous – absolutely the best of the best,” Justice said. “I’m so proud of all of our winners, and you can’t say enough about the hard work that their teachers, administrators, and school service personnel are all doing. It’s amazing.”
The governor and his administration also continued to encourage eligible West Virginians to receive COVID-19 booster shots.