West Virginia is giving away free guns to encourage people to get vaccinated

Taking ‘going to get my shot’ to a whole new meaning, the US state West Virginia is giving away guns to vaccinated residents in the most bizarre incentive scheme we’ve seen.

The state is giving away five hunting rifles and five shotguns in a weekly lottery, which will take place until August and is starting on 20 June for Father’s Day because... why not?

The lottery will also give one resident $1 million—as other states have done—along with prizes such as full-ride scholarships, custom trucks and lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.

In addition to its lottery, West Virginia is also giving away $100 in savings bonds or gift cards to everyone ages 16-35 in the state who is fully vaccinated.

It comes amid rising vaccine hesitancy in the state. A poll found that 28 per cent of residents were unwilling to get the jab. Republicans are more likely to refuse the vaccine, according to polls.

Meanwhile, other states are similarly bribing people in the name of public health. The governor of OhioMike DeWine is running jab lottery for five weeks, in which those who have received their first jab could win $1 million. To incentivise 12-17 to get vaccines, he also said he would draw the name of one vaccinated child to receive a full, four-year college scholarship at a state university – including fees for room, board, and books. The move reportedly boosted the state’s vaccination rate by 45%.

New Jersey dished out free beers and New York offered free MetroCards for anyone who gets a shot at a subway vaccination site. Krispy Kreme even gave out free doughnuts to vaccinated people.

And West Virginia’s giveaway isn’t the only vaccine incentive related to guns. Illinois has also set up a mobile vaccination site at a shooting range in the state and is giving away 100 free targets to anyone who gets the vaccine there. It is also offering free Six Flags tickets to lucky people.

Reacting to the plan, people on Twitter thought it was ridiculous:

Dishing out dangerous firearms to protect people’s health is certainly one of the more incongruous policies we’ve seen. Let’s just hope it helps vaccine uptake.

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