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Five lucky Americans to get $1 million each for getting vaccinated

Governor Mike DeWine announces it as part of a weekly lottery programme

Neil Vigdor, Azi Paybarah New York Published 14.05.21, 03:24 AM
governor Mike DeWine.

governor Mike DeWine. Twitter

To the many propositions that governments have used to try and bolster the slumping demand for the Covid vaccine in the US, governor Mike DeWine of Ohio raised the ante considerably on Wednesday.

The governor announced that the state would give five people $1 million (Rs 7.35 crore) each in return for having been vaccinated as part of a weekly lottery programme.


The lottery, whose legality could raise questions, will be paid for by federal coronavirus relief funds, DeWine, a Republican, said during a state-wide televised address.

The first of five weekly drawings will be held on May 26, according to DeWine, who said that Ohio Lottery would conduct them.

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money’,” DeWine said on Twitter.

“But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic — when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it — is a life lost to Covid-19.”

About 36 per cent of Ohio’s population has been fully vaccinated — compared with 35 per cent nationally in the US — and nearly 20,000 state residents have died from the virus, according to public health data.

The reaction online to the giveaway was mixed on Wednesday, with some people saying that it beat the seemingly meagre offerings of other states like free beer, gift cards and savings bonds. Others questioned whether the money might be better spent on broader relief from the pandemic and whether the lottery complied with federal regulations. Even some other Republicans bristled at the plan.

Several US states and cities, which are struggling to fill vaccine appointments as the demand wanes, are turning to an array of not-so-subtle incentives to get shots into the arms of more Americans.

The incentives are a reminder of people’s hesitancy to get the vaccine and the challenge leaders face in convincing them that it is safe.

New Jersey is offering a “shot and a beer” for residents who get their first vaccine dose in May and visit participating breweries in the state. Detroit is giving out $50 prepaid cards to anyone who drives a resident to a vaccine site.

New York Times News Service

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