St. Louis City could use lottery system to increase COVID vaccinations


ST. LOUIS – St. Louis City leaders could consider using a lottery as an incentive to try and boost lagging COVID vaccination numbers in the city. The Post-Dispatch reported the money for the lottery would come from some of the $517 million in federal pandemic aid that the city is receiving. The lottery idea came from a city board advising Mayor Tishaura Jones on how to use an initial allotment of $68 million in federal aid.

The lottery plan was added to a previously announced list of spending recommendations. Then the revised list with the lottery idea was sent to Jones for her review. That panel said funding used to increase community awareness of vaccine efforts could include a lottery “or other incentives” to boost vaccination rates.

Multiple giveaways have been tried around the country to increase vaccination numbers. The Post-Dispatch reports that data shows vaccination rates have lagged in majority-black areas of north city and north county compared to whiter, more affluent areas.

Overall, less than 31 percent of St. Louis City residents have completed the vaccination process. That’s compared with nearly 39 percent in St. Louis County. Statewide, 36.5 percent of Missourians are fully vaccinated.

Jones is expected to announce what she will include in her proposal Tuesday to the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

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