116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WAVERLY — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley praised Hy-Vee for offering incentives to people for getting a COVID-19 vaccination but said Iowa doesn’t need a million-dollar lottery like Ohio’s to increase inoculations.
Hy-Vee is offering $10 gift cards to those who get vaccinated through Nov. 1 and administers the vaccine in its pharmacies.
“To get the next 10 or 20 percent of the people in America vaccinated, we’re going to have to work a little harder, and I compliment Hy-Vee for helping us work a little harder,” Grassley said during a stop Thursday afternoon at the Waverly Hy-Vee.
The seven-term senator had asymptomatic COVID-19 in 2020 and later was vaccinated. He came to the Waverly “to thank the pharmacy employees personally for what they’ve done during the COVID pandemic and also during the vaccine rollout,” said Christina Gayman, director of public relations for Hy-Vee.
Grassley briefly toured the store before meeting privately with employees.
“We’re at a point now in Iowa and throughout the nation where the percentage of people who are getting vaccinated on a weekly basis has decreased quite a bit,” Gayman said. “And so we’re hoping to provide some incentive for individuals to come on in and get vaccinated.”
Grassley said Iowa doesn’t need governmental incentives like lotteries at this point, noting that will be Gov. Kim Reynolds’ decision. By Friday, about 49 percent of Iowa’s age 12 and up population had been fully vaccinated, state public health figures show.
“I don’t think anything ought to be dictated from Washington on this point,” he said. “If she decided to do it, I would back her up, naturally, because I want to get this virus under control. But I will just leave it up to her.”
Earlier this week, Reynolds told reporters she was not interested in creating any such vaccine lottery.
"I'm not going to do a lottery," the Republican governor told the Des Moines Register. "We're still doing everything we can. We are working with every venue we can. We're at the Barnstormers games. We're at the Cubs (games). We're at farmers markets."
On Thursday afternoon, Grassley continued to brush aside questions about whether he’ll seek an eighth term in office, repeating that he’ll make a decision this fall.
“I don’t think about it every day,” Grassley said. “I very much enjoy my work.”