Organizations in Ketchikan and on Prince of Wales Island are offering incentives to get people vaccinated against COVID-19. The Ketchikan and POW Chambers of Commerce received grants from the Alaska State Chamber and the Department of Health and Social Services for that purpose.
Ketchikan’s chamber executive director Michelle O’Brien says the state offered $45,000 for a vaccination incentive program. Because the local chamber has shied away from advocating for or against vaccines, saying it’s a personal choice, O’Brien said she decided to get creative when accepting the money.
“But I thought to myself, ‘Who do I know that is really a proponent of vaccinations? Oh, Rotary.’ Because they’ve been doing these global polio vaccinations like forever, decades. They were already volunteering at various vaccine clinics. I’ll just get them to help.”
O’Brien says Rotary is coordinating and volunteering at clinics throughout the month. The next are this Friday and Saturday. To incentivize those who might be hesitant or have not gotten their vaccine, First City Rotary is offering free 4th of July Rotary Duck Raffle tickets. The top prize in the raffle is $2,500. In addition, O’Brien says to help the local economy she also purchased $22,500 in gift cards from local businesses.
“So each clinic is offering one $500 gift card and 41 $100 gift cards.”
O’Brien says anyone who is vaccinated during the month of June, not just those attending a Rotary-sponsored clinic, can receive a free duck raffle ticket by showing proof of vaccination to Tongass Federal Credit Union.
Prince of Wales Island is also promoting vaccinations. Prize drawings are open to all residents of the Prince of Wales and Hyder census area who have already been vaccinated or get their first dose of vaccine between now and June 25th. Brian Templin is the president of the Prince of Wales Chamber of Commerce.
“So what we’re going to do is do drawings every week. We’re going to draw about $3,000 worth of prizes a week in a number of drawings. The prizes range from $250 to $1,000 each.”
Drawings began in late May. Templin says every other week, there also will be drawings for $500 Alaska Airline gift certificates. In addition, three grand prize drawings for $2,500 Alaska Airline gift certificates will be held at the end of June.
“If you’re a winner, we will ask to see proof of vaccine and proof of Prince of Wales / Hyder census area residency. The goal is to get the vaccination rate up to between 70 and 80 percent. So we’re really encouraging folks to get vaccinated.”
As of Wednesday, the census area’s vaccination rate was 63%. On Prince of Wales, residents 12 and up can sign up for vaccinations through the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock or the PeaceHealth clinic in Craig.
Those already vaccinated on POW or in Hyder can enter the drawings at: discoverpowisland.com Sign up information is at the bottom of the page.
More information about POW and Ketchikan vaccination clinics are on the KRBD online community calendar.