Governor Parson announces new DHSS director, statewide vaccine incentives worth up to $10,000

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.- Gov. Parson announced Donald Kauerauf as the new Director of the DHSS. Kauerauf has more than 30 years of experience in public health and emergency management. Kauerauf will start his new position on September 1.

Kauerauf served as the Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health from 2016 until his retirement in 2018. More recently, he was selected to Chair the Illinois Terrorism Task Force and has served in that capacity throughout the pandemic.

“I’m looking forward to working with public health agencies, healthcare providers, and communities to build upon the great work that has been initiated in Missouri to address the current COVID-19 situation. At the same time, I’ll work to make available critical preventative programs and services to increase the health and safety of all Missourians,” Kauerauf said.

The previous director, Randall Williams, resigned in April this year. Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Knodell has served as acting director since then.

Parson also announced a new incentive program called MO VIP. Missourians have the chance to win $10,000 for receiving the vaccine. The campaign runs from August 13 with drawings occurring every two weeks with the final drawing scheduled for October 8.

“We understand that the some Missourians are hesitant towards getting the vaccine, but we must all take personal responsibility and do right by our own health and that of our friends and family by getting vaccinated,” Governor Parson said. “This new program will compliment our existing efforts to educate Missourians about the importance of getting the vaccine. Our current COVID-19 situation is serious. This Delta variant transmits faster than what we have previously seen and is more likely to impact children and the unvaccinated, so now is the perfect opportunity to get vaccinated and earn your shot at $10,000.”

There are also three categories for Missourians:

  • Red: Missourians age 18 and up receiving at least one dose of vaccine after July 21. 
  • White: Missourians age 18 and up receiving at least one dose of vaccine before July 21. 
  • Blue: Missourians ages 12 to 17 receiving at least one dose of vaccine at any time.

Gov. Parson says 80 winners will be randomly selected during each drawing from the Red and White categories (10 from each congressional district). 

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