The Latest: 375,000 Missourians enter state vaccine lottery
O’FALLON, Mo. — More than 375,000 Missourians have entered the state’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery program, but vaccinations continue to lag, especially in rural areas of the state.
State officials said the first of five drawings will be Friday. All told, 800 adults will win $10,000 cash prizes, and 100 people ages 12-17 will win education savings accounts worth $10,000. Entries for the first drawing are due Wednesday. Only those who have initiated vaccination are eligible.
Republican Gov. Mike Parson announced the incentive program on July 21. About 120,000 people registered within 24 hours of the announcement, and vaccinations have risen nearly 50% in the past month, said Robert Knodell, acting director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
But Missouri continues to trail most states in vaccinations. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard shows that 49.4% of Missourians have had at least one shot, nearly 10 percentage points below the national average. Fourteen Missouri counties have seen fewer than 25% of residents initiate vaccination.
Meanwhile, the delta variant of the virus continues to create new and serious illnesses. The state on Tuesday reported 1,754 new confirmed cases and a seven-day average of 1,880 new cases, bringing the pandemic total to 589,733.
The state also reported 142 new deaths, including one from June and 105 from July that were previously not reported. All told, 9,970 Missourians have now died from COVID-19. Hospitals across the state are filling up with patients, in places big and small. Intensive care unit capacity statewide is at 17%.