The freebie “is a $200 value for a family of five,” Pritzker said. The company said the 50,000 free tickets come out to about $4 million in value.
Some of tickets will be offered at the Gurnee location itself, where Illinois National Guard mobile vaccination teams will operate the first weekend of June, the 5th and 6th. “If turnout is high, vaccination teams will return to continue offering this lifesaving protection to residents,” Pritzker said in a statement.
Also, “a significant portion” of the tickets will be distributed via local health departments “to use in the way that will best work for their community,” the state said. That includes departments in Chicago, suburban Cook County and the collar counties, with a special focus on neighborhoods with low inoculation rates, school-based clinics and mass vaccination clinics.
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The Pritzker sdministration ruled out a somewhat flashier incentive being offered in nearby Ohio: making all vaccine recipients eligible for a $1 million lottery prize.
A Pritzker aide says the lottery is of dubious legality under Illinois law. Ohio also is offering full 4-year scholarships to an Ohio college or university to teenagers who are inoculated.
The governor said he believed the free tickets “would give people a little extra push.”
Pritzker rolled out the new program as inoculations in Illinois, though still at a high level, are going into fewer arms than they were. According to the Illinois Department of Health, the average number of daily vaccine doses administered over a 7-day period peaked at 133,000 on April 12. The 7-day average since has declined to about 76,082, though it has ticked up a bit in the last couple of days. About 10.2 million doses have been administered, with 36.54 percent of the state’s population totally inoculated with the required one or two-dose shots.
The Pfzier vaccine, which has received the highest use, is being made available to children ages 12 to 15 in Illinois today, which should also boost vaccination rates somewhat.
The Six Flags announcement comes as Pritzker confirms the state will move into the bridge phase tomorrow, the final phase before a full reopening. Under the bridge phase, capacity limits on dining, group events and other gatherings will be eased for a 30 day period. If COVID figures remain stable or decline in that period, the state will move to Phase 5 full reopening as soon as Friday, June 11.