Gov. Jim Justice admitted on Wednesday that his plan to offer US $ 100 savings bonds to entice 16- to 35-year-olds to get the COVID-19 vaccine has not been fully approved, and said that West Virginia could end up having to offer $ 100. check instead.
âWe don’t have all the details,â the governor said during the state’s COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday. “In most great ideas and plans, you don’t sit around for 50,000 days incubating until it’s perfect.”
Justice made national news Monday by announcing the savings bond incentive to encourage young people in West Virginia to overcome reluctance to get and get vaccinated.
As recently as Wednesday’s briefing, Justice appeared to be under the impression that savings bonds were still paper certificates, telling the target audience, “I’m going to give you something that you can take a picture of. and keep. â According to information on the US Treasury’s TreasuryDirect website, US Savings Bonds all went electronic in 2012, forcing bondholders to open accounts on this website.
âThe details of how to do this with the Treasury, we’re working through that, and there are some important details, and it’s difficult,â Justice said of the savings bond initiative.
âAt the end of the rainbow, maybe we’ll have to say, no, we just can’t do that. We’ll just send you a check for $ 100, âhe added.
This contrasts with $ 100 savings bonds, which reach face value after 20 years, but can be cashed out after one year for just over $ 50.
The court also admitted that many in the targeted age group may not have been familiar with savings bonds, but said their parents and grandparents understood their meaning.
“It will give our children something that I think we need to instill in each of us, and that is an extra dose of patriotism,” he said.
The drop in vaccination rates statewide in April led the governor to devote a significant portion of his briefings three times a week begging for the vaccine hesitant to get the shot. State immunization rates fell from an average of more than 17,000 doses per day in late March to an average of less than 2,000 doses per day last week, according to the Department of Health and Human Rights COVID-19 dashboard. Human ressources.
Initially the national leader in immunization rates, West Virginia on Wednesday ranked 41st among 50 states and Washington, DC, on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracking.
Also on Wednesday, justice clarified that the incentives would be paid retroactively to young people aged 16 to 35 who were vaccinated before Monday’s announcement.
He pointed out that the cost of issuing savings bonds or checks, even if it met its goal of involving 210,000 West Virginians of the target age group, would still be a fraction of the cost of what the State is paying for ongoing COVID-19. trial.
The costs of the vaccine incentives will be paid out of unspent federal funds from the CARES Act, Justice said. According to the State Auditor’s Office, as of April 20, more than $ 615 million of the $ 1.27 billion in the CARES Act allocated to the state remains unused.
The governor also said on Wednesday that the state would step up marketing efforts, including public service ads, to encourage hesitant West Virginians to get vaccinated.
âWe are dedicating the necessary funds to make it happen. This is not a one-sided or one-sided approach, âJustice said, without providing further details on the marketing campaign.