coronavirus vaccine

Illinois, Federal Officials Look to Incentives to Encourage COVID-19 Vaccinations

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A dramatic decline in coronavirus vaccinations across the United States is prompting all sorts of incentives, and while leaders are hopeful that those programs will work, there are still plenty of questions to answer.

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker just signed a bill that will permit bars and restaurants to give vaccinated customers a free drink as a reward for getting their shots.

Six Flags Great America is also donating 50,000 tickets to newly vaccinated residents, and Pritzker says the state is even considering a lottery for vaccinated residents, similar to a $1 million giveaway that Ohio officials pioneered last month.

“(We’re working at) overcoming some vaccine hesitancy,” Pritzker said. “We’ve been vaccinated, and we feel comfortable that it’s a safe thing to do.”

According to the latest figures from the CDC, approximately 63% of the U.S. adult population has received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. In Illinois, approximately 67% of adults have received their first dose, and more than 50% have received both.

Despite that success, vaccination numbers are beginning to plummet. Illinois, which at one point was averaging more than 100,000 doses of the vaccine administered per day, is now averaging 41,234 per day over the last week, according to officials.

That same pattern is emerging across the United States, and President Joe Biden’s administration is working to change that, announcing a series of incentives from companies like CVS, Anheuser Busch and DoorDash.

At CVS, people who have gotten vaccinated at stores can enter a giveaway for a variety of prizes, including a trip to the Super Bowl, $5,000 toward a family reunion, or cruises.

United Airlines is offering free flights, Samuel Adams and Anheuser Busch are offering free beers, and DoorDash says it will giveaway $1,000,000 to drivers who get their vaccines.

Biden hopes that the incentives will help push the U.S. to its goal of vaccinated 70% of the population by the Fourth of July, but it is unclear whether those incentives will be enough.  

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