(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) One COVID-19 vaccine dose could be your shot at winning $10,000.
Wednesday, Governor Mike Parson announced the state's roll out of "MO VIP," or Missouri's Vaccination Incentive Program. It's the state's latest effort to boost Missouri's lagging vaccination rate as the Delta variant rapidly spreads throughout the Show Me State.
“It’s kind of an unfortunate fact, but almost every state that has executed a comprehensive incentive program does have a higher vaccination rate than the state of Missouri,” said Robert Knodell, Acting Director for Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services
MO VIP is a prize program that rewards those already vaccinated and persuades those on the fence with a cash incentive. Every two weeks, 180 Missourians in five randomized drawings will win $10,000 cash or $10,000 towards an education savings fund for minors.
Dr. Corey White, Psychology Professor from Missouri Western State University, said this program will result in getting more people vaccinated.
“Incentives do work otherwise we wouldn’t have bonuses, christmas presents or heaven or hell, if you will,” said Dr. White.
The drawings will be pulled from the state's eight congressional districts which give Missourians who live in a region with a low vaccination rate such as District 6 which covers rural northern Missouri, a better shot at winning the prize.
Currently, Buchanan County has the lowest vaccination rate of all 15 counties in the Northwest at 22% of residents partially vaccinated.
Knodell said the program does cater to those entries in areas with low vaccination rates and that's the point.
“Well, obviously the chance of success in those rural areas are greater and we hope that is an inducement for individuals in those more vaccine hesitant areas that may have fewer participants, fewer entries to give vaccination a fresh look, hard consideration and make hopefully make what we believe is the right choice to get vaccinated," said Knodell.
However, not everyone will be persuaded no matter the dollar sign.
Dr. White said based on some people's political or ideological beliefs, they cannot be reached.
For those who have already rolled up their sleeve without having to be incentivized, Dr. White said they could feel frustrated by those who waited until an incentive was on the table to get immunized against COVID-19, but he said it's all about the big picture.
“There's a part of me that finds that almost slightly unjust because it’s almost like we’re rewarding the people who didn’t take the action that would have helped all of us anyway, but at this point, I don’t care if it’s unfair. I don’t care if it’s rewarding obstinate behavior. Anything we can do to get vaccination rates up, especially in areas where they are lagging behind, I believe is a benefit for all of us,” said Dr. White.
Only one dose of the vaccine is required to enter the drawing.
Vaccinated Missourians are not automatically enrolled.
The first drawing will be August 13th, but those eligible for the drawing must receive their shot by August 11th. Confirmed winners will be announced on August 25th.
More than 900 Missourians will be rewarded at the end of the campaign in October.
Accorded to the state, more than 116,000 entries have been entered in MO VIP within the first 24 hours.
To sign up for MO VIP or to learn more, CLICK HERE.