Gov. Jim Justice awarded his last two $50,000 grants to West Virginia schools with the highest vaccination rates as the governor finishes the “I Got Vaxxed” competition.
The governor visited Grafton High School in Taylor County and Paden City High School in Wetzel County to provide the schools with their checks. Over the last couple of weeks, he awarded 12 public and private middle schools and high schools with grants. The winners had the highest vaccination rates among students and staff in the state.
Grafton High School intends to use the money to provide a field trip for students. The school did not determine the location, but is considering Washington, D.C., inner Harbor in Baltimore or attending a play in Pittsburgh.
Paden City High School intends to use its money on school-community events, such as school dances and a carnival. The school also plans to use some of the funding for learning expansions.
In total, 77 schools applied for the competition. The schools submitted vaccination data, which was verified by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
Justice is also awarding prizes through its vaccine lottery for vaccinated residents aged five through 18. Any person in that age range who has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can register to win prizes, which includes scholarships. The governor launched this lottery as an incentive for younger people to get vaccinated.
To date, children have been the least likely group to get vaccinated. However, vaccination for children aged five through 11 was only approved by the CDC less than a month ago. Among all eligible West Virginians, more than 63% have received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 51% are fully vaccinated. Among adults, more than 70% have received at least one dose and more than 60% are fully vaccinated. Among those aged 50 or higher, more than 85% have received at least one dose and nearly 74% are fully vaccinated.
Death and serious illness from COVID-19 are rare for younger people, but the risk increases for those who have a compromised immune system or other health issues. The risks also increase as people get older.