Pritzker hints at $7 million COVID-19 vaccine lottery

Pritzker hints at $7 million COVID-19 vaccine lottery

Illinoisans are not getting COVID-19 vaccinations at the rate they once were, so Gov. J.B. Pritzker may turn to cash prizes through a vaccine lottery to boost immunizations.

Get a COVID-19 shot and take a shot at winning big bucks in Illinois?

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said June 2 that Illinois might launch a vaccine lottery program offering up to $7 million in prizes to inoculated residents. He already promoted Six Flags tickets and 100 shooting clays in exchange for immunizations, plus on June 2 signed a law allowing a free shot of alcohol for new vaccinations.

The lottery would be Pritzker’s largest incentive yet to get shots into the arms of Illinoisans as the state vaccination rate continues to decline.

Shots peaked at about 133,ooo in mid-April and were at about 36,000 for the 7-day average on June 3. With more than half of adult Illinoisans fully immunized, and two-thirds having received at least one dose, the state’s daily vaccination rate has trickled to the lowest level since January when supply was scarce.

“There are a lot of different incentives out there and I hope people take advantage of them,” Pritzker said during a news conference in Peoria. “We’re looking forward to potentially doing a vaccine lottery, as you’ve heard about in other states.”

Illinois would be the ninth state to introduce a vaccine lottery after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine first debuted his Vax-a-Million campaign in May. In the week following the lottery announcement, Ohio saw first-time shot totals jump 40%, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The vaccine lottery is in development with the Illinois Lottery and Illinois Department of Public Health, with Pritzker’s office saying the prizes will be announced “very soon.” It would offer up to $7 million in prizes to adult residents and, potentially, up to $3 million in “scholarships or educational awards” for those under 18.

For help finding a vaccine appointment in Chicago, visit or call (312) 746-4835. The city is offering in-home vaccinations to any resident 65 or older, as well as those with disabilities or underlying health conditions.

For suburban Cook County sites, visit or call (833) 308-1988.

To find providers elsewhere, visit or call (833) 621-1284.

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