BUTTE — The first winners of Butte's "vaccine sweepstakes" drawing were announced on Thursday afternoon.
Butte health officials held a mock drawing during a ceremony at the pavilion at Stodden Park in which the first five winners were announced. The actual drawing took place earlier this week so the winners could attend Thursday’s event.
In an effort to encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Butte-Silver Bow is hosting weekly drawings of everyone in the county who is fully vaccinated for a chance to win a $10,000 or $5,000 cash prize.
The winners of the two $10,000 drawings were Ina Fox and Mark Bleken. The three winners of the $5,000 drawing were LaDonna Black, Emily Loos, and Toby Richards.
Emily Loos, who was the youngest winner at 18 years old, said she did not even know the sweepstakes was going on when she was told she was one of the winners earlier this week.
She hopes it encourages more people to get vaccinated: “I think it's important because it's helping our community stay safer for the older people and for younger people and we just want to get everything back to normal."
Weekly drawings will be held every Thursday at the Butte Civic Center through September 30. Anyone who gets fully vaccinated is automatically entered in the drawing and you don't have to be present to win.
This is far from the only agency to offer an incentive, as public health agencies continue to encourage "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated.
Across the country, some businesses have offered free donuts, others have offered free beer, and the state of Ohio has offered a really big incentive: a chance at winning one million dollars. The state of New York recently announced a potentially bigger incentive: "Get vaccinated and you'll get a chance to win $5 million."