Missouri residents will have the chance to win $10,000 for getting a COVID-19 vaccine under a new incentive program launched Wednesday by Gov. Mike Parson.

Through the $9 million program, called MO VIP and funded by federal coronavirus relief money, 900 Missourians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will win cash or education savings account prizes in the amount of $10,000. The first drawing will be Aug. 13; drawings will occur every two weeks, with the final drawing scheduled for Oct. 8. The Missouri Lottery will conduct the drawings.

Once residents receive a vaccine dose, they become eligible to enter the sweepstakes at MOStopsCovid.com/win. There is no need to enter more than once; duplicate entries will be removed before each drawing. Those without internet access can get assistance by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 877-435-8411 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Entries will be divided into three categories:

Red: Missourians 18 and older receiving at least one dose of vaccine after July 21.

White: Missourians 18 and older receiving at least one dose of vaccine before July 21.

Blue: Missourians aged 12-17 receiving at least one dose of vaccine at any time.

A total of 80 winners, or 10 from each congressional district, will be randomly selected during each drawing from the Red and White categories. These individuals will each receive a cash prize of $10,000. During each drawing, 20 individuals from the Blue category will be randomly selected to receive a $10,000 education savings account through the Missouri State Treasurer’s MOST 529 program. All winners will have their vaccination status verified.

Winners must be a U.S. citizen and a permanent Missouri resident and be 12 or older. They also must have received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, before the drawing date.

The launch of the program comes as the delta variant of the coronavirus becomes the dominant strain in Missouri, and as the state remains among those with the lowest vaccination rates. State health data show that 43.9% of Joplin residents, 22.1% of Jasper County residents and 18.8% of Newton County residents have completed vaccination.

In a media briefing Wednesday, the governor said he would not require vaccinations.

“Unvaccinated Missourians are the primary target of this new COVID-19 strain. While the delta strain is more contagious, the vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective against it,” he said. “We encourage all Missourians to consider getting vaccinated, as almost all new COVID hospitalizations can be attributed to unvaccinated individuals.”

Official rules are at MOStopsCovid.com/win. Those who are ineligible are Parson and his wife, individuals currently incarcerated on a felony conviction, statewide elected officials, members of the U.S. Congress and Missouri Legislature, appointees of the governor, and employees of the state offices of the governor, treasurer, health and senior services, lottery and administration.

Local public health agencies that administer COVID-19 vaccines also will be eligible to offer financial incentives of up to $25 for each vaccine recipient, up to a total of $11 million. Vaccinators should apply by Aug. 15.

Trending Video

Emily Younker is the managing editor at the Joplin Globe. Contact: eyounker AT joplinglobe DOT com.