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Vaccine incentives: Which states are offering the chance to become a COVID-19 millionaire

LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — The flurry of incentives is rolling out nationwide as vaccination rates slow down all over the country. Many states have offered lotteries to residents willing to roll up their sleeves.

Oregon officials announced Friday a plan to hold a lottery. Those who’ve been fully vaccinated by June 27 will be eligible. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown calls it the “Take Your Shot” campaign.

The Oregon Health Authority says 50% of Oregonians are vaccinated, with 39% having completed the series and 11% in progress.

“How about a chance to win a million dollars … roll up your sleeves.. change your life,” Brown said.

Other states are also trying the tactic, including New York and Maryland.

Ohio was the first state to introduce a vaccine lottery. The lure of big bucks has worked; hundreds of thousands of people have entered Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery that’ll award five $1 million prizes and five full-ride college scholarships.

The state said they’ve seen some signs of a boost in vaccines since the program was announced. The lottery has brought in more than 113,000 Ohioans for a first COVID-19 shot, a 53% increase in one week.

“Not only have we achieved our goal of increasing public awareness and interest, but we have slowed the consistent decline in uptake and in certain age groups, we’re seeing an increase again,” said Ohio Health Director Stephanie McCloud.

Ohio’s first drawing is set for Wednesday.

In New York, anyone who gets vaccinated at select state-run vaccination sites in-state next week will receive a lottery scratch ticket with prizes potentially worth millions, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo tries to boost slowing vaccination rates.

The “vax and scratch” pilot program will offer prizes from $20 up to $5 million and run from Monday, May 24 to Friday, May 28 at 10 state-run sites, Cuomo said Thursday.

It’s not just money up for grabs, several marijuana dispensaries around the country are giving out cannabis treats or free rolled joints. On April 20, marijuana advocates offered “joints for jabs” to encourage people to get vaccinated in New York City and Washington.

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What may be worth a million dollars to NBA Lakers fans is being offered in Los Angeles County: free Lakers season tickets. The county will enter the newly-vaccinated into a sweepstake for a chance to win a pair of Lakers season tickets.

The tickets are for the 2021-2022 season, and participants must receive their first shot on Saturday or Sunday to be eligible.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, you might say the Hustler Club is putting skin in the game — the popular strip club hosted a free vaccination clinging Friday with complimentary dances, bottles and show tickets.

Tamer incentives are available all over the country in the push to boost vaccination numbers. Holdouts say things like store coupons, park passes, and cash cards are indeed incentives.

“Just random free things from businesses or something like that. Like, hey, get a shot have a shot,” said Kody Mashburn, who’s newly vaccinated.

For those in the dating game, the White House COVID-19 Response Team is working with popular sites like Tinder and Bumble on a special incentive for singles.

“These dating apps will now allow vaccinated people to display badges to show their vaccination status,” the response team said.

I think they’re badges of honor in the dating world,” said relationship expert Bela Gandhi.

She predicts badges will be invaluable to many singles.

“I have many people in my client base at Smart Dating Academy that will not date someone unless they’re double vaccinated and out of that two-week period as well,” Gandhi said.

Some breweries around the country are offering “shots and a chaser.”

In Alaska, which traditionally has low vaccine confidence, the Norton Sound Health Corp., with a hospital in Nome and 15 clinics across western Alaska, has given away prizes, including airline tickets, money toward the purchase of an all-terrain vehicle, and $500 for groceries or fuel.


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