COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice announces deadline for Healthy Grandfamilies vaccination incentive program


CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and members of the West Virginia COVID-19 pandemic response leadership team held another news briefing today to update the public on the State’s latest pandemic response efforts.
During Monday’s briefing, Gov. Justice announced that the deadline for West Virginians to apply to receive a $150 school voucher through the Healthy Grandfamilies vaccination incentive program is Dec. 15, 2021.

“If you’re a part of a grandfamily, you need to apply,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s a great program. It’s a $150 school voucher for our kids that really need it. We’re saving our wisdom and saving our future.”
The Healthy Grandfamilies vaccination incentive program offers a $150 voucher for school supplies to all vaccinated grandfamilies in West Virginia – families where grandparents are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren.
To qualify, all vaccine-eligible members of the grandfamily, including grandparents and grandchildren ages 5 and older, must have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The family must also be enrolled in West Virginia State University’s Healthy Grandfamilies program. Enroll at

Healthy Grandfamilies, which provides information and resources to grandparents who are raising one or more grandchildren, is assisting in the administration of the school voucher incentive. According to the organization, about 19,000 West Virginia children live in households with a grandparent or grandparents as their primary caregiver.
Also on Monday, Gov. Justice reminded all West Virginians that online registration remains open for the third round of the ​​“Do it for Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” vaccination sweepstakes.

Do it for Babydog: Round 3 is focused on educating children and their parents on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and the importance of getting West Virginia’s youngest residents vaccinated.

This round of the sweepstakes is open to all West Virginians ages 5-18 who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Children ages 5-17 must have parental consent to be vaccinated and to register.
This round of the sweepstakes will feature four weeks of prize giveaways.

The giveaway schedule begins this week, before taking a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday. Giveaways will resume the week of Nov. 29 and continue through the week of Dec. 6 and the week of Dec. 13.

The giveaway will include the following prizes each week:
  • 25 Prizes of a $10,000 Educational Savings Fund
  • 100 Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Licenses
  • 1 Grand Prize Educational Savings Fund for a student
  • 1 Grand Prize check and party for a school

Weeks 1-3
  • Student: One student per week will receive a $50,000 Educational Savings Fund.
  • School: One school per week will receive a $50,000 check and will host a party with Gov. Justice and Babydog. These events will include an on-site vaccine clinic and opening remarks by a doctor to talk about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Week 4
  • Student: One student will receive a $100,000 Educational Savings Fund.
  • School: One school will receive a $100,000 check and will host a special holiday party with Santa (Gov. Justice) and his reindeer (Babydog) bringing presents for students. This event will also include an on-site vaccine clinic and opening remarks by a doctor to talk about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
*Those who previously registered for Round 1 and/or Round 2 of the vaccination sweepstakes are required to register again to be eligible for Round 3*

While the registration deadline for the first prize drawing has now passed, eligible West Virginians can still register for the next drawing through Sunday, Nov. 28, at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Free COVID-19 vaccinations are currently available to all West Virginians ages 5 and older.

All West Virginians interested in being vaccinated are encouraged to visit or call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line: 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Gov. Justice yet again encouraged all West Virginians to determine if they qualify for a booster dose and then immediately get one if they are eligible.

There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. 

Per the latest CDC recommendations, individuals who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot if it has been at least six months since they completed their initial series of shots and they fall into at least one of the following groups: For individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.
Per the CDC, eligible individuals now may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

If you are eligible for the booster shot, you can go to any location offering COVID-19 vaccines with your vaccination card to receive the booster. If your card has been lost, you can request a new one from the DHHR.
On Monday, Gov. Justice reported that 6,436 active cases of COVID-19 statewide; down by 291 cases since the Governor’s previous briefing on Friday last week.

The active case count is down by 23,308 since peaking in mid-September, dropping by 78.4% in that time.

COVID-19 Dashboard |

Meanwhile, the state continues to see a steady downward trend in the number of severe COVID cases.

The number of hospitalizations, patients in ICUs, and patients on ventilators have all dropped between 42.2% and 54.4% since peaking in the final week of September.

The number of hospitalizations is now 529; down by 8 over the past week. Since peaking at 1,012, hospitalizations have dropped by 483 (47.7%).

The number of patients in ICUs is now 171; down by 24 over the past week. Since peaking at 296, the number of patients in ICUs has dropped overall by 125 (42.2%).

The number of patients on ventilators is now 89; down by 5 over the past week. Since peaking at 195, the number of patients on ventilators has dropped by 106 (54.4%).

The County Alert System map now features 6 green counties, 6 yellow counties, 7 gold counties, 24 orange counties, and 12 red counties.
Gov. Justice also reported that, per the West Virginia Department of Education, there are currently 37 school outbreaks in 16 counties with 588 confirmed cases.

COVID-19 Outbreaks in State Public Schools (WVDE)
Gov. Justice also took time out of his remarks on COVID-19 to honor the 75 lives that were lost in the infamous Marshall University football team plane crash of Nov. 14, 1970.

Sunday marked the 51st anniversary of the tragic accident, which occurred while Gov. Justice was a student attending Marshall.

“I was in the dorm at Marshall when it happened. All of a sudden, so many friends were lost. It was a tragedy beyond belief – the worst sports tragedy that has ever happened in the history of this country,” Gov. Justice said. “I would ask all West Virginians to please remember Marshall and all those great people we lost on that day in your prayers.”
Gov. Justice also offered his prayers and condolences for the passing Saturday of pro football Hall of Famer and West Virginia native Sam Huff.

Huff, who was 87, was raised in Marion County. He played for West Virginia University in the mid-50’s, before being drafted to play in the NFL by the New York Giants and later playing in Washington D.C. 

Huff is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a two-time All-Pro and an NFL champion. He also went to five Pro Bowls and was the first NFL player ever featured on the cover of Time magazine.

“I got to meet him one time and I’ll never forget the size of his hands and the strength in his arms,” Gov. Justice said. “He was a great man who had a stellar career. He’ll be a legend in this state forevermore.”

Gov. Justice also offered his condolences to another famous West Virginian who passed away over the weekend: Bertha May "Buddie" Curnutte.

Curnutte, who was 97 and lived in St. Albans, was one of the last surviving “Rosie the Riveters” from the World War II era.

When the war started, Curnutte volunteered to work at the Curtis Wright Airplane Factory. She worked as a riveter on the Kitty Hawk Aircraft Carrier for several years. 

The women worked in pairs on the Kitty Hawk airplanes; one a riveter and one a bucker. She worked on one part of the wing assembly. After several years working as a riveter, Buddie joined the Coast Guard.

“She was a true West Virginia hero,” Gov. Justice said. “These women absolutely stepped up in World War II. We needed him so badly, it was unbelievable. There were close to 6 million women working every day on our airplanes, our tanks, our ships. They worked as crane operators, they made uniforms, parachutes, and small arm and artillery ammunition.

“Buddie, we will miss you,” Gov. Justice continued. “We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Cathy and I will absolutely join in prayer for you.”
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