States are offering different incentive programs to increase the rate of vaccinations, including vaccine lotteries. On Thursday, both New York and Maryland announced a new lottery.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that any adult who gets vaccinated at any of the ten state-run sites from May 24 to May 28 would be eligible to receive a ticket for a $5 million prize. The “Vax-N-Scratch” program consists of 13 tiers. Prizes range from $20 to the $5 million jackpot.
“Troubling news, the number of vaccinations are slowing,” Cuomo said. “And they’re slowing dramatically. We have a 43 percent decline in people coming in for vaccinations.”
The governor says that the state is looking to vaccinate individuals that may not be absolutely against the vaccine but could be persuaded with incentives.
“The question that I think about all the time is, this is a unique moment in history, what do we do now to excel nationally and internationally,” Cuomo asked.
New York has lifted its mask mandate for fully vaccinated people. According to NBC News, 42 percent of New York’s total population are fully vaccinated.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a vaccine lottery on Thursday. There will be 30 drawings over the next six weeks. From May 25 to July 3, the Maryland Lottery will give a $40,000 prize to randomly selected vaccinated individuals.
“Entry is very simple. All you have to do is get vaccinated for COVID-19 here in Maryland, be a Maryland resident, and be 18 or older,” Hogan said. “Anyone 18 years or older who has already been vaccinated for COVID-19 in Maryland is also eligible for these prizes and will automatically be entered to win.”
Both New York and Maryland’s lottery incentives follow Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s program. The Ohio governor announced that the state would give five people $1 million each week.
“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,'” DeWine said. “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.”
25,400 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered on Friday after the announcement of the lottery was made.
Stephanie McCloud, director of the Ohio Department of Health, attributed the increase to the incentives.
“We are grateful that the drawings are helping spur Ohioans to take this important measure to protect their health,” McCloud said. “Vaccines are our best tool to return to the lives we remember before the pandemic.