SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri is looking at what it can do to increase vaccination rates.
Around 40 percent of Greene County residents are fully vaccinated and around 45 percent are partially vaccinated.
Several places have partnered up with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department to offer incentives for getting vaccinated.
Local universities are also putting out incentive packages for those to get vaccinated before the fall semester.
“We are excited for any opportunity to increase vaccinations locally,” said Cara Erwin the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Communication and Outreach Manager.
And one way to do that is to offer incentives like free tickets to a Springfield Cardinals game, or discounted entry fees at Springfield parks.
“We are desperate to save lives,” Erwin said. “And we will do what we need to do to achieve that goal.”
Local colleges like Missouri State are also offering incentives for students to get vaccinated, $150,000 worth of prizes.
Drury is looking to announce its incentive package within the next couple of days with the state following closely behind.
“We’re working on that right now,” Missouri Governor Mike Parson said. “Now let me be clear about that, I’m not a huge fan of that. But I also want to move the needle in the state.”
Gov. Parson has shared his concern in the past about incentivizing the COVID vaccine.
“Do you really pay someone to get something they need? That protects people and protects them?” Gov. Parson said.
It is unclear what the incentive package would look like.
But, he says if it helps more people get vaccinated, he’s interested in trying it.
Springfield is looking at other incentive options too.
“We need to do better,” Erwin said. “We need to do better as individuals, as a community, and as a region in order to increase those vaccination rates.”
The announcement on what the state’s incentive package will look like will be announced early next week, July 18-24.
Springfield has a couple of other incentive’s in the works, but has not finalized any yet.