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Hawaii to offer cash prizes, extend COVID vaccination campaign into August

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Hawaii's COVID-19 vaccination campaign will be extended into August with new incentives and cash prizes.

State and business leaders are extending the campaign to vaccinate Hawaii residents against the coronavirus and plan to now offer cash prizes in an effort to get more people vaccinated.

The current lottery is set to close tomorrow at midnight, with the state awarding 83 more prizes next month. The sequel to the vaccination campaign will run through Aug. 20. American Savings Bank has promised $5,000 prizes for three winners and more prizes, including additional cash rewards, are expected to be announced next month.

“People should be getting vaccinated because it’s the right thing to do to protect yourself and others around you,” said Brooks Baehr, a spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Health, during a press conference today. “But if a little cash helps, we’re going to do it.”

More than 240,000 residents have signed up for the lottery and do not need to register again to remain in the running for the next rollout of prizes. To be eligible, residents must have received at least one shot of the available vaccines.

Health officials say that the #HIGotVaccinated campaign, which was announced at the beginning of the month, has helped boost the number of people getting vaccinated.

The pace of vaccinations was declining by about 20% a week in the weeks leading up to the campaign, according to Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i. Based on this downward trend, he said the campaign and business promotions contributed to a 30% increase in vaccinations over what was predicted.

Still, the pace of vaccinations remains slow. Gov. David Ige has said the state will lift all COVID safety restrictions once 70% of Hawaii residents are fully vaccinated. At the current rate, that could take another nine to 10 weeks, said Raethel.

Close to 58% of Hawaii residents have been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday and 63% have received at least one shot.

This month’s lottery has included trips to Las Vegas, HawaiianMiles and Zippy’s meals for a year, among other prizes. The state has announced seven winners so far and six more winners will be announced on Friday.

The new prizes will be listed at HIGotVaccinated.com on July 12 and grand prize winners will be announced on Aug. 20.

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