Tuesday, June 15

Get the vax, win a shotgun: US states get creative to encourage vaccination | United States politics


First it was a lottery to win $ 1 million in Ohio. Then another lottery was established in West Virginia.

In Illinois, people could get free tickets to the Six Flags amusement park.

In New Jersey it meant a free beer.

The Minnesota governor announced giveaways that included fishing licenses, gift cards, and state park permits, among others.

And West Virginia upped the ante, adding a chance to win hunting rifles or shotguns.

Governors across the country are resorting to almost shameless incentives to entice Americans who have not received a coronavirus vaccine to take it voluntarily. And some people who have entered these giveaways have won prizes, even $ 1 million.

It is partly a movement out of necessity. There are still Americans who are actively refraining from getting the Covid-19 vaccine or just haven’t gotten it yet.

Companies have also stepped in to help the unvaccinated. The percentage of a state’s population that has been vaccinated. it varies dramatically. Some states are approaching 70% and others are still below 50%.

So the governors have had to be creative. On Thursday, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced a “one-time” state lottery to receive a vaccine, with prizes including a $ 2 million lottery, gaming systems and speakers, and “tuition and spending assistance from higher education”.

In New Jersey, the governor, in partnership with the state health department, established a “shot and a beer” incentive program, which allows any New Yorker of legal drinking age who receives their first vaccination in May to also enjoy a beer through the breweries that participate in the program.

That kind of approach was recognized by Joe Biden on Wednesday when he announced a month of action to reach the goal of vaccinating 70% of American adults before the July 4 holiday, and the president nodded to a manufacturer of beer. proposed draw for saying: “That’s right, have a drink and have a beer. Free beer for everyone 21 and over to celebrate independence from the virus. “

White House press secretary Jen Psaki echoed this Thursday in the daily briefing.

“Free beer – which seems to be very attractive to the public, apparently by [the] headlines, ”Psaki said.

In a video that went viral in May, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice sat at his desk with his English bulldog, named Babydog, on his lap.

“If you don’t do it for your family, you need to get vaccinated against Babydog,” Justice tells the camera. “That’s all about it. Now she wants you to get vaccinated and she will absolutely be the one to guide us with all these incentives. And without any questions, she will give you a maximum of five right now, but you have to get vaccinated.”

Incentive programs have become a bipartisan trend with governors from deep red states like West Virginia or deep blue states like California offering a variety of incentives.

And there have already been some million dollar winners. In Ohio, Jonathan Carlyle of Toledo won the Vax-a-Million state lottery.

“I kept mumbling and mulling over the subject, and I work all the time, and when the Vax-a-Million thing started, I went right away and got it. It pushed me to the limit, “Carlyle said to the Toledo Blade. He said he would use the money to pay some bills and buy a house.

Not all governors have released awards. In Utah, Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, says he is monitoring how effective lotteries are.

“It would be great if we didn’t need any incentives. Hopefully not dying is a great incentive, ”the governor said according to the Deseret News.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is considering a vaccine lottery.

“We need to do everything we can to make sure we can get as many shots to the arms as possible,” Cooper said according to the ABC affiliate. KATV.

North Carolina has already a $ 25 cash card gift incentive program for vaccinations.

In South Carolina, the state House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford proposed using leftover Covid-19 aid money to set up $ 1 million prizes for people to get vaccinated. In an interview, when The Guardian suggested that it was surprising that some people had not yet been vaccinated, Rutherford moaned: “You and I both!

“The only way I think we can start breaking up is by using what working in other states and I think Ohio saw a 29% increase in their vaccinations because of this, ”Rutherford said. “And if we can get that kind of raise by spending a million, two million dollars, I think it’s a no-brainer.”




www.theguardian.com

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