Delaware is upping the ante to get people vaccinated as case rates continue to drop.
On Tuesday, the state announced it was launching DE Wins!, a public education and incentive program aimed at increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates in Delaware.
“Our goal is to reach 70 percent of vaccinated adults in Delaware in the coming weeks, and to continue vaccinating as many Delawareans as possible against COVID-19,” Gov. John Carney said in a press release. “This incentive and public education campaign will help get us there.”
The program has a range of prizes and other incentives, some to be offered through small businesses. Ultimately, everybody who has been vaccinated in Delaware will be eligible for prize drawings that include a $302,000 jackpot and two low low-digit tags.
The push for more people to be vaccinated comes as cases decline and the number of vaccinations has slowed.
In some ways, it’s back to the future for Delaware with case rates dropping to around where they were last summer.
The state is currently seeing 94 cases a day over a 7-day moving average and a 3.1% positive test rates. Currently 51 Delawareans are hospitalized with COVID-19, the closest that number has been all year to the all-time low of 29.
This week marks the first time since the state started designating geographical chunks of the state “areas of concern” because virus activity was high there that there were no areas of concern to be pointed out.
While summer weather and the siren call of outdoor events are partly responsible for the drop in case rates, the state has also fully vaccinated 370,638 Delawareans and administered 884,533 doses total.
Demand for vaccines is dropping as 65% of residents 18 years and older have gotten at least one shot and nearly 91 percent of those 65 and older have had at least one shot.
DEwins! hopes to encourage everyone 12 and older to be vaccinated, with tiers of prizes.
Delawareans who are 12 years old and up who are vaccinated from May 25-June 29, and any Delawarean ages 12-17 vaccinated before, will be entered to win $5,000 in cash and additional prizes in twice-weekly drawings conducted by the Delaware Lottery.
Winners will be contacted by phone and no additional information is necessary in order to qualify for the prizes.
Other prizes include a four-day vacation, a full scholarship to a public Delaware university, annual Delaware State Parks passes, tickets and camping at Firefly Music Festival, and prize packages from partners including Funland, the Wilmington Blue Rocks and the Delmarva Shorebirds. The full scholarship gives the recipient the option to go to UD, DSU or Delaware Tech.
The Delaware Lottery will conduct the drawings on Mondays and Fridays from May 31 through June 30.
In addition, Delaware small businesses will offer customer incentives to any Delawarean vaccinated so far, as well as during the program time frame.
The Delaware Division of Small Business has launched the Small Business Incentive Fund to reimburse eligible qualifying businesses for incentives, which will include restaurants, bars, breweries and gyms.
On June 30, to cap off the DE Wins! campaign, every Delawarean who has received the COVID-19 vaccine in Delaware will be entered to win a $302,000 cash prize and two three-digit Delaware license plates, also conducted through the Delaware Lottery.
Carney said Tuesday that the state wanted to make the prizes as uniquely Delaware as possible, and only in Delaware do people bid big bucks on low-number car tags.
Delawareans vaccinated at locations managed by DPH and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), including Curative vaccination sites and DPH clinics, from May 25-June 29, will also receive one of 6,500 $10 gift cards that could be a VISA cash card, or cards to Grotto’s or Wawa.
“Incentive programs are one of three key levers that are becoming widely recognized for increasing vaccine rates,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, in the Tuesday press release. She and Carney said Delaware’s is based on programs in Ohio and Maine.
“Incentive programs are another tool that can drive vaccine uptake among different audiences, particularly younger ones, by offering items that are seen as valuable and motivate them to act.”
Go to DEwins.org for full details on prizes and eligibility, or to sign up for the program if you are a business.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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