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Butte-Silver Bow awards first cash prizes for COVID vaccines

June 24, 2021 GMT

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — Butte-Silver Bow county announced the initial winners of its vaccination sweepstakes on Thursday, as it also begins a marketing campaign aimed at increasing the number of people who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ina G. Fox and Mark Bleken each won $10,000 in the COVID-19 Vaccine Sweepstakes while LaDonna Black, Emily Loos and Toby Richards won $5,000, NBC Montana reported.

The weekly drawings will be held each Thursday through Sept. 30, and will give away a total of more than $500,000 to vaccinated residents, officials have said.

The Butte-Silver Bow Health Department is also beginning a new marketing campaign emphasizing the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines to people ages 12 to 59. State data shows that 56% of the eligible population of Silver Bow County is fully vaccinated, among the best vaccinated rates in Montana.

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“The majority of our community’s older people have pursued vaccinations,” health officer Karen Sullivan told The Montana Standard. “It’s the younger demographics we’re after, and our campaign will be speaking to them about the importance of being vaccinated against the virus.”

The charitable foundation of the Town Pump convenience store chain provided $500,000 in prize money and the county plans to spent $500,000 on its advertising campaign.

By year’s end, Sullivan said the county aims to have 75% to 85% of the entire population fully vaccinated.

“All I want is for people to get a shot in the arm. I want this community to be vaccinated,” Sullivan said recently. “How we get there, if it’s ethical and above board, then I’m good with it. Let’s get ’er done.”

Nearly 16,800 of the 30,125 eligible people in Silver Bow County have already been vaccinated.

Statewide in Montana, 46% of eligible adults and teens have been fully vaccinated, trailing the national rate of 53.3%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Silver Bow County has reported 4,157 cases of COVID-19 and 86 deaths since the start of the pandemic.