POLK COUNTY, Iowa —
Polk County used a new tool this summer to get people vaccinated: a lottery with cash prizes.
More than 100,000 people registered for the lottery. The county handed out $375,000 over 10 drawings.
Some even got college scholarships.
While vaccinations steadily declined in the month of July—getting as low as 1,800 a week—after announcing the lottery, more people got the shot, with a peak of nearly 4,500 vaccines given the first week of August.
Polk County is setting aside more COVID relief money for future vaccine incentives and education programs.
So where is the money going?
The county has $95 million to spend from the federal government, all coming from the American Rescue Plan.
So far, the county has half of the money in its pocket.
Supervisors are choosing to spend it on:
- An upgrade to the emergency management operations center technology system
- Cover crop seeder to improve water quality and reduce flooding.
- A mental health clinician in the 911 dispatch call center
- The Downtown Hilton hotel and Iowa Events Center
Funds will also go to the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination incentive and education programs.
Something to note from the supervisors: Polk County lost about $24.8 million dollars in 2020, so some of the aid money will likely go to address that hole.
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