By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Although some states are offering incentives to encourage more people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, Wyoming is not one of them. At least, not yet.
This week, Colorado announced it would give out $1 million to five lucky residents who had started the vaccination process by June 1. According to KSUT, nearly 60% of all eligible Coloradoans have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, while more than half of the state has been fully vaccinated.
The funding for the sweepstakes is provided by federal funds through the CARES Act. Those monies otherwise would have funded advertising and marketing efforts, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said.
“We have seen this kind of drawing work in states like Ohio, where they saw a surge in interest from launching their drawing,” Polis said. “And we expect that we’ll see the same thing here.”
Ohio, in fact, reported a 55% increase in vaccinations after launching the “Vax-a-Million” program where five residents will win $1 million each and full-ride college scholarships to five students between 12 and 17.
Nearly 3 million adults have registered for the cash drawings, and more than 100,000 students have registered for the college scholarship offer.
While there have been discussions about Wyoming implementing some type of statewide incentive to encourage more residents to get a vaccine, Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti told Cowboy State Daily there are no firm plans to do so.
“There have been discussions of potential incentives and/or rewards but no firm plans at this point,” she said. “However, I will also say that the protection against COVID-19 the vaccines offer is in and of itself is more than worthwhile and we continue to encourage people to choose to get these safe, free and effective vaccines.”
Gov. Mark Gordon’s spokesman Michael Pearlman didn’t return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment by press time.
While there is no statewide plan to implement vaccine incentives yet, the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department is offering a tickets to the Cheyenne Frontier Days night concerts for people who get vaccinated in May or June.