US states offering cash incentives for vaccinations

Washington, May 21, 2021: Some US states have now initiated a novel scheme to attract reluctant citizens to get vaccinated, whereby people who get vaccinated against COVID-19, will get the chance to win lotteries with cash prizes of up to $2million.

Last week, the Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, made the announcement that five adults who get vaccinated will each get a prize of $1million through the state’s “Vax-a-million” lottery. Shortly thereafter, the state of Maryland announced its own lottery program where residents could get up to $2million in cash for getting vaccinated. The Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan said this program is intended to get reluctant folks or people who aren’t thinking about getting vaccinated, to the vaccination centers. The state has so far managed to administer at least one dose to 67% of adults over 18 years. From Tuesday next week, the lottery in Maryland will also select one person for each day for a cash prize of $40,000, with over 40 drawings for 40 days and a final draw on 4th July worth $400,000.

Andrew Cuomo, the New York Governor meanwhile, has announced a program that will provide people with scratch-off lottery tickets to all adults over age 18. Cuomo said it is vital that people all across the country get vaccinated so that the nation can defeat the virus once and for all. He said the authorities and local governments are doing all that they can to get vaccines to people but where the uptake is slow, it is time to get creative and hence the idea of a lottery to attract citizens.

He explained the logic behind the program, saying, “This new pilot program will offer a greater incentive for New-Yorkers to get vaccinated by offering a free scratch-off ticket for a chance to win up to $5 million, the more New-Yorkers we can get vaccinated, the better our situation and the faster we can return to a new normal.” So far New York has administered at least one doses to 63% of its residents.

President Joe Biden has said his target for 4 July Independence Day this year is for at least 70% of the country’s population to get vaccinated. Though the vaccine roll out initially in the US was applauded as being one of the fastest and most efficient in the world, the pace has since slowed and health authorities have had to partner with local businesses and sometimes restaurants to incentivize the vaccination process. Federal authorities have partnered with businesses to offer free beer, doughnuts, baseball tickets and even savings bonds.

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