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Health Watch: Alaska Chamber launches COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 3:40 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Chamber has launched a COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes where newly vaccinated Alaskans have the opportunity to win cash prizes.

According to Kati Capozzi, President & CEO of the Alaska Chamber, the program was designed to reward newly vaccinated Alaskans over the course of several weeks. “It is a sweepstakes that we launched last week on September 2nd,” Capozzi explained, “And the purpose of the sweepstakes is to incentivize continued vaccinations in the State of Alaska. We’ve structured this eight week-long program where any Alaskan who gets vaccinated that week can enter to win. There’s a $49,000 cash prize for Alaskans 18 and above, [and] a $49,000 college saving plan for those Alaskans aged 12 to 17.

As for those already vaccinated, Capozzi said, “Even though this is an incentive program - the purpose of it is to get new Alaskans or Alaskans who are not yet vaccinated to vaccinate - we have reserved a cash and college education prize for those who did vaccinate prior to September 2nd. So we will draw those winners’ names at the end of the eight week program.”

Already the sweepstakes has seen a large turnout in submissions with the hope of even more participation from newly vaccinated residents.

“Within a couple hours, we had 3,000 entrees. As of this morning, we have over 44,000,” Capozzi remarked. “Right now I don’t have the breakout in terms of who the newly vaccinated are beginning September 2nd. We’ll start to focus on that a little bit later in the week, but obviously we’ve gotten the word out. As you might’ve seen in your mailbox, there were mailers sent to every household in the state to let them know. We’re on the air with commercials and radio ads, we’re on social media because we’re doing everything we can just to make sure that every Alaskan knows that this opportunity is available to them.”

The program is funded by the CARES act with a grant being provided by the Department of Health and Social Services for the purpose of COVID-19 mitigation. Other states have held similar sweepstakes but the Alaska Chamber have made some changes to the formula according to Capozzi. “You know, one of the things that makes our program different from any other program across the country is that it’s basically a new contest every week,” Capozzi said, “And so your odds, if you’re an unvaccinated Alaskan, your odds of winning are the best odds you will ever have in your entire life of winning $49,000, whereas programs in other states [were] like a cumulative type of a program. It was this kind of massive group of people, [with] odds of winning not that great. So that’s one thing that makes our program pretty unique.”

Capozzi continued, “And the other thing is just from a timing perspective. A lot of other states started running their lotteries in July. Things were looking pretty good in July, but right now we are obviously at capacity in our hospitals, our economy is beginning to suffer again, there’s the full FDA approval that came through a couple of weeks ago, and also just the return to school. It’s been a bumpy return for a lot of Alaskans across the state. So we think that timing-wise, we’re in a good place and we will see success with this program.”

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