West Virginia to give away guns as an incentive to get a Covid vaccine

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Several American states have launched campaigns in a bid to get as many people vaccinated as possible, with schemes ranging from million dollar lottery tickets to free beer. West Virginia has taken a similar approach, but will be offering the newly-vaccinated the chance to win a brand new firearm instead.

The state has confirmed plans to give away five custom hunting rifles and five custom shotguns via a vaccine lottery.

Those who have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will eligible to enter and win, with the drawings starting on June 20.

These draws will continue through to August 4, with a range of other prizes available for the vaccinated.

One lucky resident will walk away with $1 million, while others will take their chances at university scholarships, trucks and lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.

West Virginia will also be gifting $100 in savings bonds or gift cards to all fully vaccinated 16 to 35-year-olds.

Thousands of people have been taking to social media to share their thoughts on the news.

One said: “What happens if you can’t legally own the gun?”

A second added: “The actual prize is not dying. I’m guessing the gun is to help balance that out.”

Another said: “Then the purpose of one getting vaccinated is useless. Saving life to take life.”

A fourth added: “Got to love the sanctimonious comments from people too sheltered to realise that a lot of people in West Virginia still use rifles and shotguns to put food on the table.”

According to the state’s health department, 51.1 percent of West Virginians (around 915,000 people) have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose so far.

The total of those who are fully vaccinated is 41.2 percent, with the state having one of America’s lower vaccination rates.

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A poll conducted by Morning Consult found that between March 20 and April 19, 28 percent of residents in West Virginia did not want to get the vaccine – the highest share of any state.

West Virginia is not the first state to use firearms as a way to motivating people to get vaccinated.

Illinois previously set up a mobile vaccination site at a shooting range and those who got their jab there were gifted 100 free targets.

The schemes seem to be working, as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that the state’s cash price vaccine lottery boosted the vaccination rate there by 45 percent.

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