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JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Mike Parson will announce a statewide vaccine incentive program Wednesday.

Parson will announce the program and the new Department of Health and Senior Services director at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

The incentive program comes amid a third wave of COVID-19 in the state. As of Tuesday, the state positivity rate 13.7% and there are 8,951 confirmed cases in the past seven days. Only 40.20% have completed the vaccine.

Southwest Missouri has been a hotspot for the Delta variant and the overflow of patients from Springfield have started coming to MU Health Care.

Earlier this month, Parson floated the idea of a statewide COVID-19 vaccination incentive program and the possibility of a “substantial grand prize.”

Other states have implemented vaccine incentive programs. Connecticut restaurants offer complimentary drinks to vaccinated patrons and Ohioans aged 18 and older will be entered into a weekly drawing with a prize of up to $1 million. West Virginia is offering $100 savings bond or gift card to anyone between the ages of 16 to 35 who receives, or has already received, a COVID-19 vaccine.

Parson will also announce the new Department of Health and Senior Services director.

The previous health director, Randall Williams, resigned at Parson’s request in April. He was appointed in 2017. Robert J. Knodell is currently the acting director.

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