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Kentucky to announce incentive program for vaccinations, Beshear says

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 3:41 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Kentucky will roll out an incentive program for people to get vaccinated, Gov. Andy Beshear said on Tuesday.

The move comes as 2.06 million Kentuckians, or 46 percent of the state’s population, are at least partially vaccinated, according to Kentucky’s vaccination data.

Beshear has previously stated he would consider incentive programs for vaccinations, even saying he would be willing to copy Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery as several other states have done.

“Any idea will be considered. We are willing to steal any good idea that other states have had,” the governor said last week.

Ohio saw a bump in vaccinations the week following the announcement of its lottery. According to Ohio Department of Health data, the state saw a 106 percent increase that week from its weekly vaccination average pre-announcement. But the increase didn’t sustain itself; the following week saw just a 48 percent increase, and the most recent ODH data bears out that decline.

The first winner of Ohio’s Vax-a-Million drawing was a Tri-State resident. The second winner, out of a total of five, will be announced on Wednesday.

Beshear on Tuesday did not say whether Kentucky would employ a lottery or some other form of incentive program.

The governor has relied on private businesses to create their own incentives, such as when Racing Louisville FC, a women’s soccer team, offered vaccines at a soccer match in late April.

The Kentucky lottery began offering free coupons for free lottery tickets to adults who get the vaccine in early May.

Meanwhile, Beshear’s statewide goal of 2.5 million vaccinations to drop all pandemic health orders, meant to incentivize vaccinations, proved more stick than carrot. Billed during its unveiling as Kentucky’s “COVID-19 exit strategy,” it seemingly failed to thwart the precipitous decline in vaccinations that gripped the commonwealth and the country through April.

The health orders will be gone June 11, Beshear announced in early May.

That announcement, which ostensibly dispensed with the 2.5 million vaccination goal, came just days after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Ohio’s health orders would be gone June 2.

Also on Tuesday, Beshear announced that due to increased vaccinations, senior centers will reopen at full capacity on June 11.

Last week: No more curfew for Kentucky bars and restaurants

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