Free haircuts, drinks for COVID shots, as officials look to boost Illinois vaccination rate

Gov. Pritzker said Illinois COVID vaccine lottery under consideration
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Locally, we've already heard of everything from baseball tickets to plane tickets to encourage Chicago and Illinois residents to get their COVID vaccines, but now there's more.

The incentives being offered line up with the national push to get 70% of the adult population vaccinated by July 4.

The city's department of public health is hoping to encourage folks, especially teens and young adults, to get vaccinated with free haircuts. They're calling it "Vax and Relax." The idea is that these conversations are ones often had at the beauty salon or barbershop. The first two events are scheduled already. They start this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the It's Official Barbershop in Englewood, 1256 W. 63rd St., and next Saturday, June 12, at Josephine's Jet Set Hair Salon in South Shore, 2542 E. 79th St.

RELATED: Illinois COVID-19 Update: IL reports 478 cases, 9 deaths; state on track to fully reopen June 11

There will also be live music for entertainment.

And how about a free drink after that haircut? Gov. JB Pritzker signed a law Wednesday that allows bars to dole out a free drink as an incentive.

Pritzker also said the state is looking into a possible vaccine lottery, like Ohio.

RELATED: Biden's 'month of action' aims to get 70% of adults partially vaccinated by July 4

But will these incentives work?

"(It's) not enough to make someone get the vaccine who was dead set against it, but for someone sitting on the fence, it would encourage them to jump off the fence and get the vaccine," said Professor Craig Klugman, a medical ethicist at DePaul University.

Officials said 67% of Illinois adults have received at least one vaccine dose and nearly 51% are fully vaccinated.

Minors must be accompanied by their parents or guardians in order to get the vaccine, as those ages 12 to 18 are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Walk-ins are welcome at these events; no pre-registration is required.

Visit www.chicago.gov/covidvax for more information.
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