Governor announces lottery ticket, Game and Fish gift card incentive to entice vaccine-hesitant Arkansans

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday announced some new incentives to entice vaccine-hesitant Arkansans to go ahead and get their COVID-19 shots.

Hutchinson said the state will offer new vaccine recipients their choice of a premium Arkansas Scholarship Lottery scratch-off ticket, or a Arkansas Game & Fish Commission gift certificate that can be applied toward the cost of hunting and fishing licenses in the state.

The incentives will be distributed at health units around the state or at special state-sponsored vaccine events around Arkansas.

Hutchinson said the state will offer 50,000 lottery tickets and 50,000 game and fish gift certificates – both worth about $20 each – at a cost of $2 million.

If successful, he said, the state will consider adding more resources to the program.

Hutchinson announced that more than 50 percent of the state’s residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That number, he said, is behind the national average.

According to the CDC Vaccine Tracker, about 61.6% of adults nationally have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery director J. Eric Hagler said lottery ticket recipients could win up to $1 million in prizes on the tickets being distributed as part of the program. Those who don’t win on their scratch-off can also enter their ticket number on the lottery website for a second chance to win $1 million, he said. The lottery option, he said, will only be available to Arkansans aged 18 years or older.

Hutchinson also announced some new vaccine clinics planned at Arkansas State Parks on May 29. Clinics are planned from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at De Gray Lake Resort, from 9 a.m. until noon at Mississippi River State Park, and from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Petit Jean State Park. Those who receive vaccinations at these events will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win two nights of lodging at any Arkansas state park.

Case update

Hutchinson announced that COVID-19 cases in Arkansas increased by 329 on Tuesday, according to the Arkansas Department of Heath.

The state announced four new deaths as a result of the virus, bringing the total number of deaths in the state as a result of the pandemic to 5,824.

Hospitalizations up by 5, bringing the total number of Arkansans hospitalized in the state to 200. There are 37 patients on ventilators, down two from yesterday.

There are currently 1,990 cases of COVID-19 considered active in the state, which includes those that have tested positive by both PCR and antigen testing methods.

There were 1,567 PCR tests conducted in the state, and 625 antigen tests.

The new cases bring the total cumulative count in Arkansas to 340,515 since the pandemic began.

The state announced that 9,378 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, bringing the total number of doses given by the state to 1,941,400. The state lists 239,837 individuals as partially immunized, and 882,508 individuals as fully immunized.

All Arkansans 12 and older are currently eligible for a vaccine.

If you need assistance locating a vaccine, you can call 1-800-985-6030.

The top counties for new cases on Wednesday were Pulaski (42), Garland (36) and Benton (18).