Governor Pritzker Thinks A Lottery Prize Might Encourage Vaccinations
Currently, there are eight states in the U.S. that offer "vaccine lotteries" as a way to encourage their citizens to get out and get the COVID-19 shot(s). Illinois wants to be the 9th state to do it.
If you're wondering why states are feeling the need to bribe people into getting the COVID-19 vaccinations when the whole point of being vaccinated is to protect your health, you're not alone.
However, as officials in Ohio will attest, the opportunity, no matter how remote, to be on the receiving end of an avalanche of cash after being vaccinated has brought more Ohioans out to get their shots than were getting them before the "Vax-A-Million" lottery promotion started.
Ohio has a two-tiered vaccine lottery system for those who are 12-17 years old, and for 18 year olds and older. The younger crowd who've received at least the first dose of Pfizer's vaccine can enter to win one of 5 full-ride 4-year scholarships (which include room and board, tuition, and books) to any Ohio state college or university.
Those who are 18 and older and have gotten at least their first dose of Pfizer, Moderna, or the one-dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine have a shot at winning one of five $1 million prizes. Ohio has already announced 4 winners, two for a million bucks, and two for the full-ride scholarships. They'll keep this promotion going until June 23rd.
Meanwhile, here in Illinois, our governor has offered up tickets to Six Flags, and on Tuesday he signed a law that allows bars to hand over a free drink to those who have proof of being vaccinated. But seeing the response that Ohio and other states have gotten to their vaccine lotteries has made Governor Pritzker eager to try it here.
The governor commended state lawmakers who “paved the way” for the potential lottery in approving his $42 billion budget last weekend.
Up to $7 million in prizes will be awarded to adults through the program, which is being developed by the Illinois Lottery and the state Department of Public Health, according to the law that implements the budget. The state might also offer up to $3 million in “scholarships or educational awards” for people younger than 18.
It would seem that this is an attempt to address the fact that Illinois' daily vaccination average is at the lowest point since January. Ohio's vaccination numbers had also dropped before the introduction of the Vax-A-Million, but have been on the rise since then, according to Ohio officials.
(Ohio Governor) DeWine created the drawing to encourage Ohioans to get the COVID-19 vaccine sooner rather than later. As of Wednesday, more than 5.3 million Ohioans had received at least one vaccine dose and 3.2 million have entered the drawing for possible prizes.