Polk County approves vaccine lottery

By: - June 15, 2021 1:12 pm

Only 50 of Iowa’s 409 nursing homes are reporting that three-quarters or more of their workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Polk County is starting a COVID-19 vaccine incentive program in the form of a lottery this summer. Fully vaccinated residents can enter to win up to $50,000 starting June 25. 

The county is beginning the vaccine lottery with its first drawing on June 25, the Polk County Board of Supervisors and the county’s health department announced in a press release on Tuesday. The program’s goal is to increase the community immunization rate from 61% to 75% by the end of the Iowa State Fair in August.

The program is open to residents 18 years or older who have both of their shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The lottery will have drawings for a $50,000 grand prize and a $5,000 scholarship every other week. 

In addition, every week 10 prizes of $1,000 will be awarded. 

The prizes are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, which President Joe Biden signed in March. The act included a $1.9 trillion stimulus package as the United States’ sixth COVID-19 relief bill. It added funding to vaccine distribution, contact tracing and testing.

A randomized computer drawing will select winners who will be notified via email or phone. The press release said “additional incentives will be offered at upcoming vaccine clinics”, but it did not specify what the incentives will be or what clinics will have them. 

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Eleanor Hildebrandt
Eleanor Hildebrandt

Eleanor Hildebrandt is a third-year student at the University of Iowa where she studies journalism and mass communication and global health studies. She worked as a news reporter covering shared governance and higher education and a digital producer for The Daily Iowan since her freshman year. In the fall, she will return to the paper as a news editor. As a second-year, she hosted and co-produced "On The Record", the DI's news podcast that was named Best Podcast by the Iowa Newspaper Association.