Updated: Jun 6
The government of Guam today announced an incentive program to encourage more residents to get vaccinated in a bid to reach herd immunity by July 21, Liberation Day,
Adults, aged 18 and older, who have been vaccinated get a chance to win $10,000 each or a brand new car. Gov. Lou Leon Guererro said the government has budgeted $250,000 for the "vax n' win" incentive program.
To enter the contest, log onto visitguam.com/vax and fill out a few short questions, including name, contact information, and the dates of vaccination.
"These incentives are available to all residents who received their vaccine on Guam--whether you received your shots back in December or you received your shots last week.
The program starts on June 16, leading up to Guam’s Liberation on July 21st.
"And for our vaccinated residents 17 years of age and younger, you will also be eligible to win great prizes, such as a $500 gift certificate from Micronesia Mall. These prizes will be paid for by a number of federal grants for outreach and incentive programs," the governor said.
"While this is significant progress in our Covid-19 response--and has enabled us to resume some semblance of normalcy--I call on you once again to take action--this time to achieve Operation Liberate Guam by Guam’s Liberation Day on July 21.
Leon Guerrero also hopes the Guam Visitors Bureau can come up with a tourist vaccination plan as well as an ex-pat vaccination plan.
“This is based on supply. Of course, our priority for our vaccine supply is our community. That's why we’re doing an aggressive campaign,” said Leon Guerrero.
“The ex-pat program has been presented to me. I've approved it. (Department of Public Health and Social Services has approved it. We're just working out the details with the hotel and also packaging because GVB is getting the exact cost that will be dispensed because it will be the responsibility of the individual that’s coming in to pay for the hotel."
The governor said the procedure for the program has been approved and the government is just waiting for GVB to work on the hotels.
While many people would say it’s just common sense to get vaccinated and that it does not call for a reward for doing it, Dr. Felix Cabrera, the governor's medical advisor, believes giving incentives can increase vaccine rates.
Everything we think about is risk versus benefit. What are the risks of offering incentives,” he said. “Based on studies on vaccine hesitancy, it’s not so much hesitancy as it is much apathy. Not that they're against vaccinated, but they won’t of out of their way to do it. They're dragging their feet and say ‘I’ll eventually get vaccinated."
There is no need to procrastinate, Cabrera said.
"Now’s the time to get vaccinated. Now’s the time to do it, not for yourself but for others and actually gain something of physical substance that they can win," he said.
Incentive programs have been proven effective in states like Ohio and California, with the $1 million lotteries, Cabrera said.
"This isn’t new. Every October Guam Radiology gives a gift card for every woman who gets a mammogram. These incentives are there and have been proven to work. I think it’s money well spent as opposed to other ways to marketing," he added.
Cabrera noted that some demographics have low vaccination rates.
“In terms of the 16- to 29-year-olds, only 40 percent have been fully vaccinated. That's the lowest group by far,” Cabrera said.
“When you get to other ethnic groups, still looking at the ones low in their representation in the island, the Chuukese population is still low for example. In ethnic groups, they make up the lowest. The next group would be the Marshallese, and then Kosraean and Pohnpeian. There’ve been targeted approaches. I'm working with the leaders of these communities as well.”
Other prizes are also offered to 12 to 17-year-olds who get vaccinated. “There’s going to be different prizes—rooms staycations, restaurants,” the governor said.
GVB president Carl Gutierrez said, “Some prizes are going way MacPros and GoPros and every kind of Pro they have.”
As of today, Guam has vaccinated 82,778 people. To achieve herd immunity, Guan is targeting to vaccinate as many as 80 percent of adult population or 96,000 people.
"That means we need over 13,000more shots in arms to achieve Operation Liberate Guam," the governor said.
"For those who have received their shots, I thank you for doing your part to protect yourself, to protect your loved ones, and to protect our island community. I ask that each and every one of you encourage someone you know who hasn’t received the vaccine, to consider it," the governor said.
She reminded those who have not been vaccinated that there’s still time to get their shots.
"Although Operation Liberation Guam is an aggressive goal, I wholeheartedly believe in our ability to come together for the greater good of our people. We have done this time and again--through World War II, through destructive
Now’s the time to get vaccinated," the governor said.
As of today, Guan has vaccinated 82,778 people. To achieve herd immunity, Guan is targeting to vaccinate as many as 80 percent of the adult population or 96,000 people.