The Alaska Chamber announced the week five lottery winners Thursday, as part of the “Give AK a Shot” COVID-19 vaccine incentive program.
J.R. Gilliland in Anchorage won this week’s adult $49,000 pool, and junior high school student Finn Petersen in Anchorage was awarded a $49,000 scholarship administered as an Alaska 529 savings plan.
“Give AK a Shot” allows for one newly vaccinated adult resident — 18 and up — to receive $49,000 cash, and one newly vaccinated child resident — 12 to 17 years old — to receive a $49,000 scholarship in an Alaska 529 education savings plan. If the child’s guardian is also vaccinated, they’ll be eligible to win another $10,000 in cash. The campaign, which is funded through the federal CARES Act, will choose a winner each week through the beginning of November.
Kati Capozzi, the Alaska Chamber president and CEO, said there have been over 24,000 Alaskans who have received at least their first vaccine dose since the program launched on Sept. 2. She said of those newly vaccinated, 6,881 — less than 30% — have entered the sweepstakes program.
Capozzi emphasized that the recently vaccinated person has to register for the lottery program themselves — it’s not automatic.
Gilliland said he was motivated to get vaccinated after his employer mandated it.
“Being (in) an offshore environment, it’s really expensive to have the medical helicopters come out to pick up people that are positive,” he said.
Gilliland said he appreciated how easy his vaccination process was, and that he’d encourage other people to get their shot.
“When I decided I was going to do it, from looking where places are, scheduling an appointment and getting my shot was only an hour and a half, so it doesn’t take much time,” Gilliland said. “At this point I would recommend getting it taken care of.”
He said he plans on giving some of his sweepstakes money to the health care providers who gave him the vaccine, and to invest in his Talkeetna business.
“They were the ones that gave me a flier for it and said I might get lucky and win,” Gilliland said.
Petersen won a $49,000 scholarship and his mom Kelly was also the recipient of $10,000 cash after getting vaccinated during week five.
The junior higher said his scholarship will help him achieve his dream of being a potter.
Petersen’s mom said she chose to get vaccinated to minimize her risk of severe illness.
“I figure everybody is going to get COVID and even if the vaccine doesn’t prevent you from getting it, it does prevent you from getting really bad symptoms,” she said.
To enter the incentive sweepstakes, participants must register with vaccine and personal information — including name, vaccination date and vaccination location — at giveakashot.com, and people are only eligible for the incentive prizes during the week in which they are vaccinated.
The sixth round of winners will be announced on Oct. 21. Drawings will continue once a week, with winners announced on Thursdays, through Nov. 4.
Alaskans vaccinated before Sept. 2 can enter to win for their one-time drawing any time before Oct. 30.
For more information visit giveakashot.com.
Getting a COVID vaccine
COVID-19 vaccines do not cost money.
Many different organizations on the central peninsula, including pharmacies in Walmart, Walgreens, and the Kenai Fire Department offer vaccines. They are also available for both residents and visitors at airports in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks.
Additionally, Soldotna Professional Pharmacy hosts a walk-in clinic in its strip mall storefront at the “Y” intersection of the Sterling and Kenai Spur highways Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Vaccination appointments can also be scheduled through the online portal PrepMod, which can be accessed at myhealth.alaska.gov.
A map of vaccine providers can be found on DHSS’ COVID-19 vaccine website at covidvax.alaska.gov.
People who would like assistance with scheduling a vaccination appointment can call the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management call center. The center operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. The central peninsula call center can be reached at 907-262-4636. The Homer call center can be reached at 907-235-4636. The Seward call center can be reached at 907-224-4636.