ST. LOUIS – Missouri is offering vaccinated people in the state a chance to enter a lottery to win $10,000. There will be 900 winners and the teenager winners will get $10,000 scholarships.
The state also is giving local health departments the chance to offer $25 to anyone who gets a vaccine moving forward.
The programs are aimed at increasing vaccinations in Missouri, which lags about 10 percentage points behind the national average for people who have initiated shots.
Meanwhile, federal officials say around 40% of new infections came from just three states — Missouri, Texas, and Florida.
White House Vaccinations Coordinator Bechara Choucair told FOX 2 News the good news is that the number of vaccinations in Missouri has gone up recently. More than 70,000 Missourians got their first shot in the last week.
Chourcair said federal and state officials are working hard to overcome barriers in convincing those who are hesitant about getting the shot that the vaccine is safe and effective against the delta variant of the virus.
“People want to know, ‘Are the vaccines safe?’, ‘Were they developed too fast?’, ‘Are they going to have an impact on fertility?’, ‘Is it safe to take when they’re pregnant?’” she said.
“Those are all legitimate questions and our job is to make sure we’re providing people with facts, providing people with answers so that they can make an informed decision and I’m confident when people get those facts, when people get those answers, they’ll be more inclined to getting vaccinated.”
Those comments come as the number of COVID patients in St. Louis area hospitals has more than tripled in the last month. The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force is reporting 322 COVID patients are hospitalized now compared to less than 100 a month ago.
Here is a look at the rate across the state and in several counties:
- Missouri: 46.6% initiated vaccination
- St. Louis County: 50.8% initiated vaccination
- St. Louis City: 41.5% initiated vaccination
- St. Charles County: 49.1% initiated vaccination
- Jefferson County: 36.5% initiated vaccination
- Kansas City: 45% initiated vaccination
- Johnson County: 25% initiated vaccination
- Greene County: 40.9% initiated vaccination
You can get information for the entire state on the COVID vaccine navigator site here.