States Turn To Cash Prizes To Get Vaccination Rates Up

Lottery money is now up for grabs in places like Ohio and Maryland for those who get vaccinated.

States Turn To Cash Prizes To Get Vaccination Rates Up
Ohio government

It looks like we're moving beyond the phase of giving out free beer, snacks and pot in exchange for a vaccine. 

For people in a few states, lottery money is now up for grabs. Ohio started the trend after it announced its residents who receive at least one dose can enter for a chance to win a million dollars or, if 17 and younger, a full four-year college scholarship.  

"If someone in some situation believes that's going to be beneficial for him, getting vaccinated and getting some money or a scholarship, I believe that's a good thing," Ohio resident Wael Farhan said. 

Since then — Maryland has also come out with its own lottery. 

"The Maryland Lottery will randomly select and award a $40,000 prize each and every day to a vaccinated Marylander," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said. 

And in Kentucky and New York — free lottery tickets.  

White House COVID adviser Andy Slavitt says the incentives appear to be working. 

"The vast number of people who are not yet vaccinated are actually not opposed to getting vaccinated, they're just not prioritizing it very high," White House Sr. COVID Advisor Andy Slavitt said. "Things that are drawing attention to it like the lotteries are effective. We're enthusiastic about it." 

Others aren't so happy about it, including state politicians. 

"This is federal dollars that we receive to be able to help people during the pandemic," Ohio state Rep. Juanita Brent said. "We have businesses that have closed. We have had people who have lost their homes. ...This is ridiculous. That's what I thought."