Would You Take the COVID-19 Vaccine for $1 Million?
If you're on the fence about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, what prize would get you to roll up your sleeve?
As the number of people taking the shot plateaus, and even drops, several states are offering incentives in order to reach the minimum 70 percent of fully vaccinated adults medical experts such as the Mayo Clinic say will achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 in the United States.
New Hampshire is not likely to offer a large incentive, however, as Gov. Chris Sununu said he would rather focus on enticing people to take jobs.
Last week, Sununu announced his "Summer Stipend" program which he is putting $10 million into.
New Hampshire's unemployment rate is at 2.8 percent, which is where it was in 2020 before the pandemic.
The stipend program offers a $500 bonus for people who take part-time work and $1,000 to those taking full-time work.
Sununu dismissed the idea of offering incentives for vaccinations during his weekly press briefing.
"We have some small incentive programs. If there’s other ideas on the table, we’re open to almost anything, but when you start talking about a one million dollar lottery for individuals, I’m not sure that’s for us right now," Sununu said.
Maine's incentive program is called Your Shot to Get Outdoors with a number of prizes related to being outdoors including a fishing or hunting license, a pass to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, a two-day state park pass, a $20 L.L. Bean gift card or tickets to a Portland SeaDogs game.
The biggest "prizes" come in the form of lotteries offering a chance at cash from New York, Maryland and Ohio, while New Jersey has promotional incentives, including a chance to have dinner with the governor and his wife.
New York has started a lottery game called Vax and Scratch with a $5 million top prize. Tickets are on sale for $20 each, but those who are 18 and older who get vaccinated at a designated state site will get a free ticket.
"We know that vaccinations are the vital piece of the puzzle we need to crush COVID once and for all," New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "We're doing everything we can to make getting a vaccine as quick and easy as possible, but as vaccination rates slow across the state, we're going to have to get creative to put even more shots in arms."
Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has created the VaxCash lottery game with $2 million in prizes to be awarded between May 25 and July 3. It has a $400,000 grand prize.
The Vax-A-Million game in Ohio was the first vaccination lottery game and was announced by Gov. Mike DeWine, also a Republican, earlier this month. It offers a weekly prize of $1 million.
Democrat New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who said, "everything is on the table" to encourage vaccinations, has four incentive programs including the chance to have dinner with him and his wife at either the official governor's residence or at the governor's house at Island Beach State Park on the Jersey Shore.
The Shot and a Beer program provides a free glass of beer from dozens of bars and restaurants around the state while Uncork the Vaccination gets a glass of wine at several participating wineries.
The Vax and Visit program admits someone who receives one shot by July 4 into a state park for free.
Sununu encouraged vaccinations in a short video with Patriot Chase Winovich on his Twitter account with the message that it is available to everyone age 12 and over.
"Boom! It's go time! Go get your shot. Let's go," Winovich said.