Gov. Hutchinson looking for ways to incentivize vaccinations in Arkansas

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Thursday he would not renew the COVID-19 state of emergency declaration in the state.

He said the state has moved on from being in a state of emergency to a state of maintenance where people know what to do to take care of themselves. 

Part of that he said is taking the vaccine.

The governor announced cabinet department state employees will be eligible for a $200 bonus beginning in July if they have gotten at least one vaccine shot.  If the state gets to the 70% threshold it would cost approximately $3.6 million. 

“We want employees to be vaccinated, we want them to be safe in the workplace but just as importantly our state workers, in many instances, are providing an environment for the public to come in and do business,” Hutchinson said. 

The governor said he has seen employers do similar things, but not all employers are giving bonuses to their workers. 

The state of Ohio is going outside the box when it comes to incentivizing its citizens to get the vaccine. They will hold a weekly lottery drawing for five weeks for those who have been vaccinated. 

The top prize is $1 million, and for those 12-17 there are five full-ride scholarships available for in-state schools. 

Hutchinson said his office has kicked around the idea of a lottery, “The answer is absolutely, yes!  We’re still studying that, I don’t want to get ahead of the game.”

We asked people if that was something Arkansans would go for. 

“If they are willing to do something like that, it would catch a lot of people’s interest and I think any normal person would go for it,” Ashton Holden, who lives in Little Rock, said.

Pine Bluff resident Latonya said, “I mean I would wouldn’t you because money talks!”

Both had different answers when it came to what they thought would be a good amount for people in Arkansas to jump on board with.  Holden said $20,000 or $50,000 would be good. 

Latonya likes the idea of a big prize of $1 million or more, but she also adds to really get more people involved more people would need to win.

“I think it’s a great idea but I think they should also have smaller lottery tickets like you could win $1,000.”

Neither Holden or Latonya have gotten their vaccines yet but they say a vaccine lottery might heighten their chances of going to do so.

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