CoronavirusNewsPoliticsThe NorthSider

Missouri considers vaccine incentive program

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s administration floated the idea of a statewide COVID-19 vaccination incentive program and the possibility of a “substantial grand prize” during a meeting of health officials.

Consideration of incentives comes as the fast-spreading delta variant ravages rural Missouri. The state has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 transmission in the U.S.

The Kansas City Star reports that it obtained notes from a June 25 Zoom meeting of the Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence during which a senior state Department of Health and Senior Services official shared the potential incentives program.

The notes from the meeting compiled by the center’s secretary said of a potential program: “Will likely start in July. Working with MO state lottery. 3 separate drawing structures.”

Consideration of incentives comes as the fast-spreading delta variant ravages rural Missouri. The state has one of the nation’s highest rates of COVID-19 transmission and, according to the CDC, led the nation last week in the proportion of delta variant cases.

Less than 40% of Missouri’s population has been fully vaccinated, and the figure is less than 20% in some rural counties.

Asked about incentives this past week, Parson said, “Everything is on the table.” A spokesperson for Parson said Friday only that work was continuing on potential incentive options.

According to the notes from the June 25 meeting, incentives would involve multiple drawings centered on people vaccinated by certain dates. Educational scholarships for adolescents are also contemplated.

“We would be thrilled to see incentives put out by the state,” said Scott Clardy, assistant director of health department in Boone County, who attended the meeting.

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