Would Money Encourage You To Get Vaccinated? Polis Hints At Potential Sweepstakes For Coloradans

Gov. Jared Polis makes a point
David Zalubowski/AP
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference to announce expanded eligibility for state residents to get COVID-19 vaccines, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at the Governor’s Mansion in Denver.

Updated at 12:41 p.m.

Could you soon be eligible for a prize from the state if you’ve been fully vaccinated?

Gov. Jared Polis hinted this week at that possibility on Twitter after a reporter tweeted at the governor asking if Colorado was considering any sweepstakes program to encourage more state residents to get vaccinated.  News of the potential new program comes as the state experiences a drop in demand for vaccines.

A Twitter user asked 9News’s Kyle Clark if Colorado was considering anything like Ohio’s $5 million lottery for residents of that state who got vaccinated. Clark then publicly steered the question to the governor.

“I dunno. Let's ask him. @PolisForCO, what do you think about a lottery as a vaccine incentive?” Clark tweeted at the governor. 

Polis responded, “Stay tuned.”

“Colorado is currently considering a variety of options to encourage more people to get vaccinated. Additionally, Colorado is closely following what other states are doing to encourage vaccinations, including Maryland and Ohio’s statewide lotteries for vaccinated residents. Colorado has provided a few incentives to vaccinated individuals already, including partnerships with radio stations that give out free state park passes,” said Elizabeth Kosar, a spokesperson for Polis' office said Saturday.

A source with knowledge of the program told 9News that there could be daily thousand-dollar giveaways and that an announcement could come Tuesday. 

Neither Polis’ office or the state health department responded on Saturday to CPR News requests for comment and questions about specifics on the program. 

If implemented, Colorado would join a number of states doing similar giveaways. New York is giving away lottery tickets. Maryland is giving away $40,000 every day starting May 25 until July 3, and one person will win $400,000 during a Fourth of July drawing.

Ohio, on top of its $5 million lottery, is also giving out full-ride scholarships to a handful of teenagers. That state has already seen a 28 percent increase in vaccinations among people 16 years and older.

Mesa County is also rolling out its own incentive program, which comes as the county struggles with low vaccination rates and a climbing number of confirmed COVID cases. Mesa County Public Health’s executive director Jeff Kuhr said the county will do daily $100 drawings for people vaccinated. There will also be a weekly $1,000 giveaway. 

We will update as we learn more about the state’s program. For now, here’s some handy information about how to get vaccinated.

Western Slope CPR reporter Stina Sieg and general assignment reporter Claire Cleveland contributed to this report.