Liz McCormick Published

State Education Officials Launch ‘I Got Vaxxed’ Competition for Students, Schools

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West Virginia education officials have launched a voluntary competition called “I Got Vaxxed” that is asking students 12 and older to get their COVID-19 vaccination.

Children 11 and under are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

The competition will award $5,000 to the high school, middle school, and elementary school with the largest percentage of vaccinated staff and students. The money can be used toward a school prom, pep rally or any student-based activity.

The West Virginia Department of Education is encouraging all eligible school-aged children to get vaccinated against the coronavirus before school starts in the fall.

In a video announcing the competition, the state’s coronavirus czar Clay Marsh called on parents to ensure their kids get vaccinated.

“This new variant, the Delta variant of COVID-19, it’s a different virus, it is much more infectious,” said Marsh. “It infects children. It is going to drive more illness and death in people that are not vaccinated.”

Marsh said 95 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are people who are unvaccinated. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they are still studying COVID-19’s impact on children, “most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all … [but] in rare cases, they might die.”

This week, the CDC issued new mask guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals. The updated guidance includes recommendations for universal masking for teachers, staff and students in schools regardless of their vaccination status.

An online form to enter the “I Got Vaxxed” competition will be available for West Virginia schools beginning Aug. 15.

Submissions are due Oct. 1.