Beshear announces incentives (Photo by Melissa Patrick)
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
As coronavirus vaccination rates in Kentucky keep slowing, Gov. Andy Beshear has announced new lottery-style incentives: $1 million each for three residents who have received at least one dose, and 15 education scholarships for children between the ages of 12 and 17 who have received at least one shot.
“We know Covid vaccines are life-saving. And now, for some people, they’re going to be life-changing,” Beshear said at a Friday news conference in the Capitol rotunda. In Kentucky, the daily number of vaccines given has dropped below 10,000, and the last seven days saw 44% fewer shots than the week before. The New York Timesestimates that at the current rate, it will take Kentucky about two months to get 70% of its adults vaccinated with at least one dose.
Beshear said he expects the incentives will result in a “significant increase” of vaccinations, noting that Ohio’s similar $5 million sweepstakes saw a nearly 30% spike in vaccinations after its rollout.
Statewide, 46.7% of Kentuckians have received at least one shot, 57% of adults have had at least one, and 38.7% are fully vaccinated.
The drawings will be held July 1, July 29 and Aug. 26 and winners will be announced the day after the drawings, on July 2, July 30 and Aug. 27. The last date to enter for each drawing is the day before the drawings.
Beshear said the money for the “Shot At a Million” drawings will come from the federal government’s initial coronavirus relief funds.
Entry into the drawings are free and must be completed at shotatamillion.ky.gov, or by calling 855-598-2246 to enter. Once a person enters for a drawing, they will be eligible for all future drawings.
Entry requires your name, birthdate, email address, phone number, home address and the name and location of your vaccination. Participants must agree to the rules and agree to have their vaccination information verified.
Entry for the scholarship drawings has additional requirements: a parent or guardian’s name, email address and phone number. The scholarships can be used at a Kentucky public college, university or technical or trade school and will include tuition, room-and-board and books.
“If you’ve already gotten your shot, good for you, you’re eligible. All you have to do is sign up,” Beshear said. “If you haven’t gotten your shot, well get it. Protect your family and get qualified for this amazing opportunity.”
Not eligible for the incentives are non-residents of Kentucky; inmates incarcerated for a felony; employees of the governor’s office, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and Kentucky Interactive LLC, and blood relatives, spouses or household members of such employees.
Kentucky Health News asked if there had been talk of offering incentives to counties with low vaccination rates, such as the 21 that are less than 25% fully vaccinated or those along the southern border, where rates are like the low rates in Southern states, putting them at risk of more contagious variants.
Beshear acknowledged that the lower vaccination rates in Tennessee affect the border counties, and noted that it is important that every county gets the same information about the vaccines. He said in a call with judge-executives this week, the state asked to bring a vaccine mobile unit to all their festivals.
The governor said offering incentives on a different scale could be an option, and added that local governments could use some of their recent American Rescue Plan Act money for such incentives.
Eviction Relief Fund: Beshear announced that Lexington will get $11.7 million and Louisville $27 million for their eviction relief programs because they received fewer federal funds for them than expected.
The state got $264 million for its emergency rental assistance program and, working with partners, has processed over $18 million to landlords and utilities on behalf of 2,800 renter households, a news release said. All funds must be spent by Sept. 30, 2025. For more information visit https://teamkyhherf.ky.gov/.