LEXINGTON, KY (WOWK) – The Kentucky Association of Health Plans says they’re offering a new incentive to help increase vaccination rates across the state.

Those 12 and older who get a COVID-19 vaccine at the Kentucky State Fair will receive a free unlimited ride wristband and, while supplies last, a $20 gift card. The state fair kicks off Thursday, Aug. 19. The KAHP says the vaccination site will be in the West Wing Health Pavilion. A choice of vaccines will be available, but only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 12 to 17.

The organization says Medicaid members may also be eligible for an additional incentive offered by their health plan.

During his semi-daily briefing this morning, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear along with Commissioner for the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Dr. Steven Stack urged Kentuckians to get vaccinated against the virus as hospitalizations in the Commonwealth are on the rise and more Kentuckians among younger age groups are contracting the virus and in the hospital.

Beshear and Stack also estimated that by the end of this week, the Bluegrass State would surpass its record for current hospitalizations throughout the pandemic.

According to the state’s vaccine dashboard, 2,419,442 Kentuckians, or approximately 54% of the state’s population, have received at least one dose of a vaccine. That number is also approximately 66% of Kentucky’s adult population.

“Throughout our ‘Shots Across the Bluegrass’ campaign, we have really tried to break down barriers and offer the vaccine in non-traditional environments because we have found it puts people a little more at ease who might otherwise be hesitant,” said Tom Stephens, Executive Director of KAHP. “The incentives are certainly attractive, but there will also be medical professionals there to answer questions and provide trusted information.”

The organization says one of its main goals is to promote vaccine acceptance and educate Kentuckians that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. During today’s Team Kentucky briefing, Stack also took a moment to discuss rumors that question the safety and efficiency of the vaccines, warning that these types of rumors were dangerous to the public’s health.

“The promotions have been encouraging,” said Stephens. “During the giveaways, health department directors told us it was the busiest they had been since the initial vaccine rollout. It feels great to see and hear it, but we’re not taking our foot off the gas and will be announcing subsequent phases in the weeks ahead.”

Kentuckians who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations can also still sign up for the state’s last round of the “Shot at a Million” vaccine lottery. The final deadline to register is Wednesday, Aug. 25 at 11:59 p.m. The winners will be announced Friday, Aug. 27. To enter the lottery, eligible Kentuckians should go online to the Shot at A Million website. Anyone who wants to enter but does not have access to the internet can call 855-598-2246 for information to enter the drawings.