Babydog made a cameo during the governor's press briefing on COVID-19 vaccines this week.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (KDKA) — On Thursday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced a planned slate of incentives for West Virginians not already vaccinated against COVID-19 to get the vaccine.

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Some of these incentives include college scholarships, pickup trucks or cash rewards with more details to be announced next week.

The lottery-style program follows the unconventional model established first by Ohio with its Vax-a-Million program.

While the incentive programs have drawn public attention, some critics question whether the incentives are effective at convincing those unvaccinated to roll up their sleeves.

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States across the country and West Virginia have seen vaccine hesitancy in recent weeks and are turning to different methods to persuade people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition to the incentive lottery, Governor Justice tried to sway unvaccinated West Virginians with the cute appeal of his pet, Babydog.

“Now listen, if you won’t do it for me, if you won’t do it for your family, you got to get vaccinated for Babydog,” Justice said. “That’s all there is to it. Now she wants you vaccinated so badly, and she’s going to be the one to lead us through on all these incentives. And without any question she’d give you a high-five right now, but you have got to get yourself vaccinated.”

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Justice said that he was hoping to “make [people] smile a little bit” by showing her on-screen during the press briefing.