As Covid-19 cases again escalate across West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice and state health officials are offering an incentive to senior residents who get a booster shot.

Senior citizens who have been fully vaccinated and choose to receive their booster shot during one of several upcoming Covid-19 booster shot clinics at senior centers across the state as well as those who choose to receive their booster shot after Dec. 7 are eligible to receive a $50 prepaid visa gift card as an additional incentive to continue protecting themselves from Covid-19.

The senior registration form is available at https://doitforbabydog.wv.gov/senior-registration for those who receive the booster.

The four senior centers with the highest overall vaccination rates will also win a $100,000 grand prize through the vaccination sweepstakes and receive a visit from Gov. Justice and Babydog.

“I’m sure that this time of year that money could really come in handy,” the governor said during his Tuesday briefing.

“We want more and more people across the finish line. We will be hosting clinics all across our state to help get as many people vaccinated and boosted as possible.”

Justice reminded West Virginians of the importance of being vaccinated as well as receiving a booster dose of the Covid vaccine.

Because cold weather often forces people to spend more time indoors, specifically during the busy holiday season, the state is likely to continue experiencing an increase in Covid-19 case numbers, Justice said Thursday.

This increase will place an even greater strain on hospitals and ICU units across West Virginia, officials noted.

Justice also referenced an announcement from Pfizer on Wednesday which said that lab tests showed a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine increased by 25-fold people’s levels of antibodies capable of fighting off the newly identified Omicron variant, believed to be more transmissible than Delta.

“There can’t be anything more important in your life right now than getting the booster shot,” the governor emphasized. “What in the world are you waiting for? Absolutely without any question you need to get your booster shot now.”

Justice is urging all West Virginians, especially those over the age of 50 or high-risk individuals who are 18 and older, to get their booster shot as soon as possible.

As case numbers and hospitalizations among the unvaccinated continue to increase, it’s important to understand that those outside of the vaccination effectiveness window are at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 and experiencing life threatening symptoms.

“How in the world can you not run to get your booster shot? Do you really believe that if you got your first and second dose that you are protected?” Justice asked.

“You have virtually no protection if you are outside of the six month window of those shots. You are not protected right now West Virginia.”

The FDA and the CDC both recently recommended booster doses for all Americans ages 18 and older, provided that at least six months have passed since receiving their two-dose Pfizer/Moderna vaccine series or that at least two months have passed since receiving their one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

West Virginians can go to any location offering Covid-19 vaccines with their vaccination card to receive their booster.

Replacement cards can be requested from the Department of Health and Human Resources.

On Tuesday, there were 15 school outbreaks in 14 counties with 349 confirmed cases across the state. None of those schools were in Wyoming County.

Working with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, outbreaks are being monitored by the state Department of Education.

A school outbreak is defined as multiple cases comprising at least 10 percent of students, teachers, or staff, within a specified core group such as a classroom, extracurricular activity, or sports team or at least three cases within a specified core group.

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