Pritzker announces vaccine incentive program for frontline state workers
Front-line state workers employed at direct care facilities throughout Illinois are eligible for an array of prizes if they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through a new incentive program announced today by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Eligible employees at the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs will be selected in a July 19 drawing conducted by the Illinois Lottery.
State officials said "dozens" of prizes will be awarded.
The prizes include cash bonuses ranging between $5,000 and $10,000; lifetime hunting or fishing licenses; passes and memberships to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library; admission and concert tickets to the Illinois State Fair; airline vouchers on American Airlines; or tickets to Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Fire and St. Louis Cardinals home games.
"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," Pritzker said.
Recent figures have shown a massive growth in COVID-19 test positivity in counties along the Missouri border, a state that is experiencing one of the highest new infection rates in the country combined with one of the lowest vaccination rates.
"While our vaccination rates in Illinois are good, we cannot let our guard down," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. "Across Illinois, we are seeing COVID-19 variants that spread more easily and quickly, and are more dangerous. Right now, the vaccines available have proved 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."
Cash prizes are considered taxable income and the prizes may be transferable, state officials said.
The state employee incentive program is in addition to the previously announced lotteries for all eligible Illinois residents 12 and older. The state will give away $10 million in cash and scholarships through a series of summertime drawings beginning Thursday with the announcement of the first $1 million winner and three $150,000 scholarships to younger residents who have received at least one vaccine dose.