Ky. Senate President Robert Stivers discusses ways to incentivize people to get vaccinated

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 1:45 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Nearly two and a half million Kentuckians have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, but there remains a strong push for more to roll up their sleeves as the delta variant continues to cause a surge.

Some of the least vaccinated areas in the state are rural communities. On Tuesday, Senate President Robert Stivers announced local incentives for his home area in Clay County.

“We have vaccines, safe and effective out there, that cut down on the virus,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

In June, Governor Beshear announced the Shot at a Million incentive, offering a million dollars to three Kentuckians who get vaccinated. He hoped it would drive people to roll up their sleeves.

“More than 850,000 Kentuckians 18 and older have entered to win the million dollars,” Beshear said.

Now, one of Kentucky’s Republican state leaders has announced his own incentive plans for his home area.

“This is something that we in Manchester, Clay County have been working on for some time,” Senate President Robert Stivers said.

Stivers announced local incentives and PSAs with community leaders to encourage people in Clay County to get vaccinated.

The incentives include automatically getting a coupon for free pizza, and entered into a drawing for $250, or Kentucky basketball tickets and helping their local school win new sports equipment.

“It is not a mandate. It is a local response to the pandemic with much community engagement,” Stivers said.

Stivers said he believes this incentive plan will be effective and is encouraging other lawmakers to work with local leaders on similar plans to get more shots into arms.

Stivers said he’d like to see a focus on the 20 counties with the lowest vaccine numbers—many of those are rural.

Clay County, for example, only has 32% of the population vaccinated.

Stivers said health officials will be able to easily track the success rate from the incentive plan and PSAs in almost real time so other counties can see what works and what doesn’t.

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