The Board of Supervisors in the state’s most heavily populated county has approved a lottery with thousands of dollars in prizes to try and lure more residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Polk County leaders say their goal is to get 75% of the county’s eligible population vaccinated by the end of the State Fair on August 22nd. Supervisor Tom Hockensmith said he supports the program.

“In order to reach herd immunity, I think we’re gonna have to do things like this to really encourage folks and set folks to, to get vaccinated,” Hockensmith says. The county will host lottery drawings for all fully vaccinated residents on every Friday starting next week.

Ten prizes of $1,000 will be given out weekly. One prize of $50,000 and a $5,000 scholarship will be given out every other week.  The county is using federal pandemic relief money for the prizes.  The governor says the state won’t be doing any sort of vaccine lottery — but Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell thinks it could work for Polk County.

“It’ll help drive vaccinations and it’ll help drive our vaccination numbers. And once we can get past this thing, then things really can get back to normal,” Brownell says.

Polk County residents can go to the website to register for the vaccine lottery.

(By Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio)