Arkansas Will Offer Lottery Tickets And Gift Certificates For Vaccinations
Arkansans will have the opportunity to receive incentives if they get vaccinated for COVID-19. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday those who receive a vaccine going forward can take their vaccination card to a local health unit starting June 1 to choose between two incentives.
The first incentive people can choose from is the chance to receive a $20 Arkansas Lottery Scholarship scratch-off ticket. Eric Hagler, director of Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, says this could make someone a millionaire.
“This is an important ticket for those that are interested in getting their vaccine because what this offers you is an immediate chance to win a $1 million cash prize,” Hagler said. “There are currently two $1 million prizes still in the game and over $19 million in total cash prizes, so what that gives you is a one-and-three odds of winning some prize with this ticket for getting your shot.”
Hagler also announced people have another chance to win if they don’t the first time.
“If you scratch your ticket and it doesn't win, go to our website My Arkansas Lottery and enter your ticket number for a second chance to win a million dollars,” Hagler said. “So, you actually get two chances at winning a million dollars.”
People have to be at least 18-years-old to participate.
The second incentive people can pick is the chance to receive about $20 in gift certificates from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Director Pat Fitts says he thinks this is a good idea for the state.
“It’s kind of fitting as we move through the pandemic that we saw a big influx of people go outside and spend that time in our natural resources around the state," Fitts said. "I think this is a fitting incentive to keep people out there.”
If people choose this option, they will receive two gift certificates to get their fishing and hunting licenses.
“When you get your immunization card, you’ll be given two gift certificates, each one for $10.50, and that represents a fishing license and a small game hunting license,” Fitts said. “So, you'll get both and then you'll be able to redeem that gift certificate at any license dealer or online to get your actual license.”
The governor said the Department of Health will purchase and help distribute 50,000 lottery tickets and 50,000 Game and Fish gift certificates at health units and mass vaccination clinics. Hutchinson said in total, $2 million will be devoted to this incentive plan.
"If it is successful, if it actually encourages people, and we increase the number of us getting the vaccine, then we can increase that funding and put more resources into it,” Hutchinson said. “This is funding that we have in the Department of Health that’s specifically designated for vaccine distribution, and it’s been approved that it can be used for incentives as well.”
Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero said he hopes the incentives will encourage people to get vaccinated because the state is seeing an increase in the number of variants.
“We saw a 36% increase in the number of variants that we have identified in the last week,” Romero said. “That’s another reason to get vaccinated. We know that those variants have a higher morbidity, mortality, and transmissibility.”
Romero said over one-third of the new variants were associated with the UK variant and the state is starting to see Brazilian variants, which he says are hard to treat with antibodies.
According to Romero, about six percent of the state’s 12 to 15-year-olds have been immunized and the number continued to rise as of Tuesday.
Arkansas reported four additional deaths from COVID-19. The Department of Health also said there were five additional hospitalizations, while the number of new cases increased by 329.
Hutchinson also announced there will be three vaccination clinics at state parks. Those who get vaccinated will be entered in a drawing for two nights at any Arkansas state park of their choosing.
People can go to the following vaccination sites:
- DeGray Lake Resort- May 29th from 10 a.m. to 1p.m.
- Mississippi River State Park- May 29th from 9 a.m. to noon.
- Petit Jean State Park - May 29th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.