* Hannah Meisel…
The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs is deploying a fix so the more than 89,000 veterans, veteran spouses and others who received their COVID vaccines at federal VA facilities have a chance at winning Illinois’ vaccine lottery.
Gov. JB Pritzker last week announced Illinois’ “All In For The Win” lottery promotion, which will give away $10 million in cash prizes and scholarships to vaccinated Illinoisans in July and August. The lottery, funded by federal stimulus dollars, is meant to be an incentive to boost vaccine uptake in the state after demand was waned in the last two months.
But the contest’s narrow exceptions from eligibility included those who received vaccines at federal facilities like prisons or VA hospitals, saying the feds couldn’t provide the Illinois Department of Public Health with a list of Illinoisans who were vaccinated at those facilities, and it wasn’t possible for those individuals to submit vaccine records to IDPH.
However, after veterans — including State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego) — raised the issue with Pritzker’s office, the administration asked the VA for help with a fix.
Kifowit didn’t blame Pritzker’s administration on Monday, but said leaving thousands out of the lottery was likely “an indication that not enough veterans are serving in elected office.” She also pointed to state and federal systems that don’t communicate well with each other — an issue that goes well beyond immunization records.