Main Street in downtown Racine (Photo via Facebook/City of Racine)
Main Street in downtown Racine (Photo via Facebook/City of Racine)

Joint effort from the city and county aims for 3,000 new vaccinations in 30 days as shots plateau across the state.

Racine County residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the next month could win a month’s rent, an iPad, gas and grocery cards, a 65-inch TV, or a lunch with Racine Mayor Cory Mason as part of a new campaign to incentivize vaccinations in the county.

The joint effort from the Racine city and county governments will hand out 66 prizes valued at a total of $10,000, according to a press release. The goal is to get 3,000 more of the county’s roughly 200,000 residents vaccinated through July 17. Residents who get both of their shots by the deadline will get two entries into the drawing.

“I encourage any Racine County resident who hasn’t yet been vaccinated to take advantage of this opportunity and help us beat COVID once and for all,” Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said in a statement. 

Racine County’s vaccination rate is lagging the state average. Just 45.4% of county residents have received their first dose of vaccine, compared to 49.2% statewide, according to the Department of Health Services.

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To be eligible for the drawing, residents must get vaccinated at the city’s own vaccine clinics, such as the one at City Hall or another scheduled for Juneteenth at a community center. The full list of locations is available here

The incentive campaign comes as the vaccination rate is plateauing in Wisconsin and across the country, prompting government entities and businesses to get creative to encourage vaccines. 

For instance, Ohio set aside COVID relief funds to award $1 million to five adult vaccine recipients and college scholarships to five minors. Across Wisconsin, the mayors of Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Wausau, and Wauwatosa have also joined the US Conference of Mayors’ challenge to increase vaccinations.

“We really hope to reach 3,000 vaccinations in the next 30 days to give out these prizes,” Mason said in a statement.

While the vaccines are currently effective against all of the coronavirus variants that have emerged so far, there is concern that the lack of widespread vaccinations leaves room for the virus to mutate into a variant that is resistant to the vaccine, something that would lead to a new round of shutdowns, cases, and deaths.