SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WEHT)– Illinois Governor Pritzker announced a new program offering a range of incentives to state employees who work in direct care facilities and have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. These workers are eligible to enter in drawings to win anything from cash bonuses to first-class airplane tickets.
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) announced the drawings to eligible employees in late June. They will announce winners on July 19.
Dozens of frontline employees will be chosen in drawings conducted by the Illinois Lottery. The winners will receive:
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 Governor JB Pritzker. “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.”
“While our vaccination rates in Illinois are good, we cannot let our guard down,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “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.”
More than 7.1 million Illinois adults (72.2%) have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Illinois surpassed President Joe Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of adults before the Fourth of July.
This initiative builds upon ongoing efforts to encourage Illinoisans to get vaccinated. Last month, Gov. Pritzker introduced a new $10 million ‘All In for the Win’ promotion that rewards all vaccinated Illinoisans by automatically entering them into a series of cash and scholarship lotteries with prizes valued up to $1 million.
In May, Gov. Pritzker announced 50,000 Six Flags tickets and targets at the World Shooting Complex as free incentives for residents to get the shot.
Vaccines are widely available at no cost to residents. To find the nearest provider, visit vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233.
Frontline state workers who are medically or religiously exempt to getting the vaccine may also be entered into the drawing. They have to show their documentation.