West Virginia to Give Away Hunting Rifles, Trucks and $1 Million to Those Who Get COVID Vaccine

West Virginia residents will have the chance to win several prizes, including $1 million, if they get inoculated against COVID-19.

Governor Jim Justice announced the new vaccine incentives in a press conference on Tuesday. Nearly 2,800 people in West Virginia have died from the virus and more than 161,000 cases have been reported.

"Don't let them become a number, don't let them just be a statistic, absolutely keep these folks in your prayers," Justice said as he went over the state's latest coronavirus data.

The governor reiterated that West Virginians 12 years and older are eligible to receive the vaccine. He also touted that as of Tuesday, 75 percent of residents age 50 and older and 84 percent of the over-65 population have gotten their first shot.

Half of the state's residents age 12 or older have received at least one vaccine dose, while 43.3 percent are fully inoculated, according to state data.

"Maybe we shouldn't, you know, have to give away things to get people across the finish line," Justice said. "But just think about this: The faster we get them across the finish line, the more lives we save."

The governor also argued more money would be saved in the long run through the vaccination incentive program, as the cost of testing and hospitalization is "enormous."

The state will begin giving away prizes once a week starting on June 20, which is Father's Day, through August 4. To be eligible, residents must receive their first dose of the vaccine.

On June 20, the prizes will include two full, four-year scholarships for 12- to 25-year-olds to any institution in West Virginia; two brand-new, custom-outfitted pick-up trucks; 25 weekend getaways to state parks; five lifetime hunting and fishing licenses; five custom hunting rifles; and five custom hunting shotguns.

"And also on Father's Day, we're gonna make one of you a millionaire," Justice said. "We're going to give away $1 million to somebody on Father's Day. That's it. And then we're going to continue that right along."

He added, "This is for all people that have been vaccinated. If you got vaccinated back in the end of December or the beginning of January, absolutely you're eligible. Every West Virginian is totally eligible for this drawing."

The government will set up a website where eligible residents can enter for a chance to win the prizes.

"Save a life and change your life," Justice said during Tuesday's press conference. "The more we can get vaccinated, the faster we'll get to saving all kinds of additional lives and saving lots and lots and lots of money to the state of West Virginia."

Newsweek reached out to the governor's office for additional information on the vaccine incentives but didn't receive a response before publication.

West Virginia COVID Incentives Hunting Guns, $1M
Bill Roberts, 53, of Crosslanes, West Virginia, receives the COVID-19 Johnson & Johnson from the West Virginia National Guard on March 26, on the grounds of the Toyota plant in Buffalo, West Virginia. West Virginia residents will have the chance to win several prizes, including $1 million, if they get inoculated against COVID-19. Stephen Zenner/Getty Images