Mainers who get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before the end of May can get free Sea Dogs tickets, L.L. Bean gift cards, park passes and other giveaways as part of a new state program aiming to get more people vaccinated, Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday.
Mills announced the new initiative, called “Your Shot To Get Outdoors,” during a virtual meeting with President Joe Biden and other governors. Maine has among the highest vaccination rates of any state, but demand has slowed here and across the country in the past few weeks after an initial rush when all Mainers became eligible in early April.
Under the new state initiative, adults who get a first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine from Tuesday through May 31 will be able to fill out an online form and claim one of several prizes, including a fishing or hunting license, a pass to the Maine Wildlife Park, a day pass for a state park, a $20 L.L. Bean Gift Card, a ticket for a Sea Dogs game or pass to the Oxford Plains Speedway.
The giveaways are only for adults aged 18 and older. People who have already received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose are not eligible. As of Monday, 64 percent of Mainers aged 16 and older had already received at least one vaccine dose, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Young adults have lagged most in vaccinations, with only 48 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 29 having received at least one dose.
Mills said she thought the program would serve as a “good incentive” for people who may be hesitant to get the vaccine, noting other states have already announced similar plans, including a New Jersey program that offered free beer.
The Democratic governor also discussed Maine’s other vaccination efforts during the conference with Biden, including the mobile vaccination clinic that has made stops in several towns in central and western Maine over the past few weeks.
The president expressed support for Mills’ new initiative, saying he thought the benefits would likely encourage people to get vaccinated.
“My guess is that’s probably going to work,” Biden said.