By Randi Pierce
Want a chance at a million dollars? Get a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis announced the Colorado Comeback Cash Vaccine Drawing, where vaccinated Coloradans will have the opportunity to win $1 million, with a total of $5 million slated to be given out.
The news comes as Colorado continues to have one of the highest seven-day case rates in the country. As of Wednesday, Colorado had the third-highest case rate.
According to a press release from the state, “Each week, for five weeks, one winner will be selected. Winners will be announced on June 4, June 11, June 18, June 25, with the final winner being announced on July 7. Coloradans must be vaccinated by June 30 to qualify to win on July 7. This public health initiative is being hosted in partnership with the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR), Colorado Lottery, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).”
The prize money, the press release explains, is being paid for with federal funds given to the state to increase vaccine uptake.
“Isn’t it wonderful to be giving out $1 million dollar prizes along with protection against the Coronavirus?,” Polis said Tuesday. “I hope this exciting public health initiative encourages even more Coloradans to get vaccinated now, and for those who have already taken this important step, you’re already eligible to win the big prize. This isn’t just about the money, but about getting more Coloradans the protection they need from this deadly virus so we can put this pandemic behind us and power the Colorado comeback.”
According to the state’s press release, the initiative will be based on the COVID-19 vaccine records contained in the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS), with the state consulting with the attorney general’s office on the design of the drawing.
Coloradans who have received at least one dose of the vaccine are automatically entered to win.
If a Coloradan is selected to win the $1 million cash prize, the CDPHE and the Colorado Lottery will reach out to verify eligibility, according to the state.
To be eligible to win, a person must:
• Live in the state of Colorado.
• Be at least 18 years of age.
• Not be an administrator of the CIIS, a Colorado Lottery employee conducting the drawing, an auditor certifying the drawing, the governor or lieutenant governor of the state of Colorado, or the senior director of the Colorado Lottery.
• Have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose if receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
• Have not already won.
• Have signed and submitted all required documentation and releases as part of the claims process by the deadlines identified in the drawing procedures.
“We’re excited to hear about any and all incentive programs coming down from the state,” said Brian Devine, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) environmental director and deputy incident commander for the SJBPH’s COVID-19 response.
Devine added that SJBPH will soon post clinics scheduled throughout the vaccine lottery period on its website.
SJBPH, he added, is working with the local business community and anticipates offering additional incentives specific to Archuleta County soon.
Devine explained that federal and state guidance has been issued indicating opportunities to vaccinate people should not be missed, paving the way for vaccines to be available to places such as emergency departments, urgent care centers and primary care clinics for use during regular medical services.
As of Wednesday, SJBPH reported 982 cases of confirmed COVID-19 among permanent Archuleta County residents.
As of the same day, Archuleta County’s positivity rate was 7 percent and seven-day cumulative incidence rate was 92.8 cases per 100,000 people.
The agency further reported that 48 percent of Archuleta County’s total population had received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 44 percent considered fully vaccinated.
The site also reports that 54 percent of the eligible population (those 12 years of age and older) have had at least one dose, while almost 50 percent have completed their vaccine series.
Devine explained Archuleta County is expected to officially hit the benchmark of having 50 percent of the eligible population vaccinated today.
“We’re still seeing a really strong correlation in Colorado, high vaccination rates and low case rates,” Devine said. “The correlation is very strong.”
Devine noted that case rates in Archuleta and La Plata counties are “exactly” where they are expected to be given vaccination rates.
He indicated that if Archuleta County reached 50 percent vaccinated in terms of total population, cases would be expected to fall “just from the effects of vaccination.”
Reaching 60 percent, he continued, things would start to look like last summer in terms of case rates, “which is really exciting,” he said.
Those who are not vaccinated are still urged to follow precautions such as wearing a face covering and practice physical distancing, Devine explained, suggesting that the vaccine rate is not high enough to protect the entire community.
Devine also urged people to continue to be tested when exposed, even if partially vaccinated, explaining that higher positivity rates mean it is more likely that cases will be missed that become outbreaks.
In addition to local providers continuing to offer vaccines, several vaccine clinics are on the calendar.
SJBPH and its state parter, Jogan Health, will hold another vaccine clinic today, May 27, at the Ross Aragon Community Center, located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd.
The first portion of the clinic, from 10 a.m. to noon, will offer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which is available for those 18 and older.
Walk-ins are welcome, or appointments can be made at: https://www.comassvax.org//appointment/en/reg/0115862890.
Then, from noon until 5 p.m., the Pfizer vaccine, which is available to those 12 and older, will be offered.
Walk-ins are welcome, or appointments can be made at: https://www.comassvax.org//appointment/en/reg/1285910064.
On Tuesday, June 2, the CDPHE will have its mobile vaccine clinic set up in the Walmart parking lot and will be administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Appointments can be made at: https://pagosasprings-62.youcanbook.me/.
Next Thursday, June 3, there will be a Pfizer clinic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the clinic taking place in a mobile unit at Pagosa Springs High School, located at 800 S. 8th St.
Walk-ins are welcome, or appointments can be made at: https://www.comassvax.org//appointment/en/reg/1596013201.
For more information about vaccine types, safety and eligibility, call (877) 268-2926. To speak to SJBPH call handlers, call (970) 247-5702.
For more information on vaccine providers and upcoming clinics in Archuleta County, visit: https://sjbpublichealth.org/covid-19-vaccine/.