State officials have announced a new pilot program offering a range of incentives to state employees who work in direct care facilities and receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and the Illinois Department of Corrections announced the drawings to eligible employees in late June and will announce winners on July 19.
Dozens of frontline employees will be chosen in drawings conducted by the Illinois Lottery. Lucky 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
Gov. JB Pritzker said he is thrilled to announce the new opportunity to encourage public employees to get vaccinated.
“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,” he said. “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.”
From the onset of the pandemic, frontline state employees have protected Illinois’ most vulnerable residents from IDHS developmental centers and psychiatric hospitals to IDVA veterans’ homes to IDJJ and IDOC facilities. To recognize their ongoing service to the state, employees who have taken at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose by July 12, 2021, will be entered into the free drawing. State agencies announced the drawings to eligible employees in late June.
“Increasing levels of vaccination rates is the only way that we can win the battle against COVID-19 and return to a sense of normalcy,” said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou. “We want to make sure that every one of our health care workers who wants a vaccine can get one, and I hope that this latest effort inspires an even greater level of participation from our heroic staff.”
“We’re happy to assist Governor Pritzker’s efforts in encouraging state employees who work at direct care facilities to be vaccinated,” said Ted Phillips, Chicago Bears President and CEO. “Public and private entities working together allows us to continue the progress we’ve made against the virus and its impact on our communities.”
Prizes may be transferable, at the discretion of the awarding agency, and cash awards will be considered taxable income. Those who can attest they would take the vaccine, but have a documented medical or religious exemption, may also be entered into the drawing.
More than 7.1 million Illinois adults (72.2%) have received at least one dose of the vaccine — surpassing President Joe Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults before the Fourth of July.
This initiative builds upon ongoing efforts to encourage Illinoisans to get vaccinated. Last month, the state 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 — up to $1 million.
To learn more about All In for the Win, visit allin.illinois.gov. And in May, Gov. Pritzker announced 50,000 Six Flags tickets – valued at $4 million – 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.
SOURCE: state of Illinois news release