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Guam has joined other US states dangling lottery money and other cash prizes in a bid to achieve herd immunity by 21 July, marking the 77th anniversary of the island’s liberation from Japanese forces.
The island’s governor, Lourdes Leon Guerrero, said the “vax n’ win” incentive program is intended to accelerate the government’s “Operation Liberate Guam” – a campaign to fully inoculate 80% of the island’s 160,000 people by liberation day.
“As of today, we have vaccinated 82,778 people. To achieve herd immunity, we are targeting to vaccinate as many as 96,000 people,” Leon Guerrero told a press conference Friday. “We need over 13,000 more shots in arms to achieve Operation Liberate Guam.”
The government is using a portion of its coronavirus-relief aid from the US government to fund the online lottery, which offers $10,000 in cash, a brand-new car and other small prizes each week starting 16 June leading up to liberation day.
“These prizes will be paid for by a number of federal grants for outreach and incentive programs,” Leon Guerrero said.
Free vaccine shots are being administered at government facilities in private clinics. The territory is among the US jurisdictions with the highest vaccination rates.
To date, Guam has a Covid count of 8,193 cases and 139 deaths since March 2020. At least 63 are in active isolation.
Guam, whose economy is driven by the service industry, has repeatedly attempted to reopen tourism, but the plan has been hampered by the intermittent emergence of Covid clusters.
The Western Pacific island hit its Covid peak in September. The large wave of positive cases was feared to cause the island’s fragile healthcare system to collapse. At some point, the island’s lone government hospital reached overcapacity, forcing it to set up beds at the kerbside of the emergency driveway.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: ‘Vax-n-win’: Guam launches lottery prize for vaccine recipients | Guam