(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker is making a push for southern Illinoisans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and he's offering incentives, including free shooting targets.
Pritzker traveled to Sparta on Tuesday to announce a new mobile vaccination site at the Worldwide Shooting and Recreation complex. The site will be operated by the Illinois National Guard in coordination with the Randolph County health department and will be open for walk-ins on May 14 and May 15. The WSRC mobile site will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“If you come and get vaccinated at the World Shooting Recreational Complex vax site, which is already completely free, you will get 100 free targets of traps, skeet, or sporting clays anytime before the end of October,” Pritzker said.
The vaccination incentives at the WSRC are part of a series of initiatives the State of Illinois is announcing in order to support community health. Last week, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield announced that anyone who has been vaccinated can be admitted for free for the months of May and June.
It was also announced that the Grand American World Trapshooting Championships, the largest event of its kind in the world, will return this August to the WSRC. It is estimated the events generate between $20 to $40 million in revenue for the region.
Last year’s competition was held in Missouri after the Illinois Department of Natural Resources cited COVID-19 concerns and would not allow the event to be held in the state.
“Vaccination clinics here at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex will help protect more Illinoisans from COVID-19,” said Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “What’s more, as we continue to see increased visitors at our state parks and historic sites, vaccinations provided here also will help ensure Illinoisans will be able to continue enjoying recreational opportunities like hiking, fishing, biking and horseback riding, or even better, events like the Grand American right here.”
To date, 5.6 million Illinoisans have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Everybody here is wearing a mask. If you want to get rid of the mask, get a vaccine,” said state Rep. David Friess, R-Red Bud.