Vaccination program for local school teams in Kanawha County draws mixed reactions

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—Athletes and others in Kanawha County could earn money for their schools by getting vaccinated. Thursday the Kanawha County Commission approved the Kanawha TEAM Vaccinate program. Those eligible include teams at public and private middle and high schools, colleges and universities in the county.

To qualify for a financial incentive through TEAM Vaccinate 90% of team members who are age-eligible must be vaccinated. Based on the size of the group they could earn from $2,500 to $10,000.

“One of the most frequent requests that we get at the commission is for help with uniforms, help with fields, help with the boosters program,” explained Commissioner Ben Salango. “This is a way they can come in and keep their kids healthy and also receive compensation for their teams.”

Salango said they’ll rely on a letter from the team coach for verification.

“It is completely voluntary and the coach can ask the team to submit it voluntarily through an email or however they want to do it,” he said. “But then it is presented to us in the form of a letter. We don’t go through and check vaccine cards. We are not going to check the state registry.”

People in the county have mixed reactions.

On our 13 News Facebook page, some responded to a post saying they are concerned that the incentive program will lead to peer pressure. One person said, “It should be the choice of their family and their doctor.”

Others say the program is a good idea.

“I think anything to encourage folks to get vaccinated is great,” said Megan Simpson. “I am completely supportive of it and I hope that our kids will go forward with it.”

The money will be coming from American Rescue Plan funds.

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