Illinois has added vaccine lottery drawings for state employees who work at direct care facilities and have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday.
Drawings will be conducted by the Illinois Lottery, and winners will be announced July 19, Pritzker said. Employees who work at the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and have at least one shot will be eligible.
- Cash bonuses: ranging from $5,000 to $10,000
- State prizes: a choice among lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum passes or memberships, and State Fair admissions and concert passes
- Airline vouchers: first-class tickets to any domestic U.S. destination or coach tickets to any international destination on American Airlines
- Sports tickets: home game tickets to cheer on the Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Fire FC and St. Louis Cardinals
"Our state employees have worked tirelessly on the frontlines throughout the pandemic and I’m thrilled to announce this new opportunity to encourage them to get vaccinated,” said Pritzker in a statement. "By further increasing state employee vaccination rates, we’re not just protecting our staff, we’re protecting our vulnerable residents in state facilities and our surrounding communities. Getting vaccinated is truly how we protect ourselves from new variants and put this pandemic behind us."
The drawings were announced to eligible employees in late June.
"While our vaccination rates in Illinois are good, we cannot let our guard down,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike in a statement. "Across Illinois, we are seeing COVID-19 variants that spread more easily and quickly, and are more dangerous. Right now, the vaccines available have proven to be effective against these variants. However, if the virus is allowed to further circulate, it can and will mutate further. Getting vaccinated now can help stop the spread and mutation of the virus, and protect you and those around you.”
The drawings are an extension of Illinois' incentive program to encourage residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Last month Pritzker announced the "All In for the Win" lottery that will give out $10 million in the form of $7 million in cash prizes for adults and $3 million in scholarships for youth, all distributed through weekly drawings.
The Illinois Lottery will draw names each week beginning July 8, Pritzker said. The cash prizes will range from $100,000 to $1 million, he said, while children can win a Bright Start college savings plan worth $150,000 apiece.
Pritzker has said that his goal is to get 80 to 85% of eligible residents vaccinated through a variety of incentives, which have so far included things like Six Flags Great America tickets and free trap shooting range plays in the state.
The Illinois plan is similar to ones announced in other states so far. Vaccine-incentive lotteries have already launched in Ohio, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, New York state and Oregon.