Residents can get up to $100 if they are vaccinated at select Dillons stores in Kansas
Kansans who get vaccinated at select Dillons stores will be eligible for up to $100 in prepaid gift cards, the grocery chain and Gov. Laura Kelly's office announced Tuesday.
The promotion, which is targeted at stores in western and central Kansas, is the latest effort by officials in the state to encourage vaccination in the face of a rising surge of COVID-19 cases, largely powered by the more transmissible delta variant.
Residents who get vaccinated at an eligible Dillons pharmacy will receive a form and pre-stamped envelope to send to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in order to get two $50 gift cards, one for each dose of the vaccine.
"Getting every eligible Kansan vaccinated is critical to our efforts to slow the spread of the virus, protect our businesses, and keep kids in school,” Kelly said. “This incentive program is a another tool to support our ongoing vaccine efforts."
A spokesperson for Kelly said the 2,500 gift cards were being provided through funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allocated to Kansas to increase vaccination uptake.
Kroger, Dillons' parent company, has supported vaccine incentives in other states, including a lottery where entrants can win free groceries or cash prizes.
Efforts to establish a more broad-based vaccine lottery program using federal COVID-19 relief dollars, something that has proved popular in other states, have stalled in Kansas.
Kelly's administration proposed a $1.3 million vaccine lottery program earlier this year targeted at younger Kansans, with college scholarships as the potential reward.
Republican legislators, who are partly charged with disbursing the federal dollars that would bankroll the lottery, have balked, however, and the plan hasn't yet moved forward.
Senate President Ty Masterson, R-Andover, was one of the skeptics, noting he didn't want to "bribe" individuals to get the vaccine. Others were skeptical the lotteries have increased vaccine uptake elsewhere, with early research decidedly mixed on the programs' efficacy.
Vaccination rates have increased in the state in recent weeks, perhaps due to the rise in virus cases.
For a list of participating Dillons stores, including locations in Dodge City, Garden City, Hays, McPherson, Pratt and Salina, click here.
Andrew Bahl is a senior statehouse reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 443-979-6100.