Following in the steps of Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine’s lottery, Maryland and New York state will start giving residents opportunities to win cash prizes in exchange for a jab.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) announced his state’s contest in a presser Thursday, while standing next to a man dressed in a lottery-ball suit, reports The New York Times. Beginning May 25, one Maryland resident will be selected to win $40,000 every day until the Fourth of July, at which point a final jackpot of $400,000 will be awarded.
“All you have to do is get vaccinated for Covid-19 here in Maryland, be a Maryland resident, and be 18 or older,” said Republican Governor Larry Hogan, reports NBC News. “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.”
Over in New York, the embattled and scandal-ridden Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) announced ten vaccination sites across the state will be offering free scratch-off tickets for the “Mega Multiplier” Lottery. The tickets will be handed out to adults between May 24 and May 28, but the contest does not appear open to those who have been previously vaccinated.
“The chances of winning something in this program is one in nine,” said Cuomo.
The lowest prize for the scratcher, according to NBC New York, is $20 and the highest prize is $5 million. However, there doesn’t appear to be any guarantees that a big winner will be selected from among the vaccinated, unlike in Maryland’s contest, as the lottery tickets are sold throughout New York anyway.
The new lottery incentives come mere weeks after Ohio launched its own COVID-19-specific lottery to increase the number of vaccine recipients. Adults who receive the COVID-29 vaccine will be entered to win seven-figure cash prizes, while children aged 12 and older who get the jab will have a chance at winning full-ride scholarships to state universities.
The Ohio lottery appears to be yielding the intended results, as the number of first-time vaccinations spiked after the lottery was announced earlier this month.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, 74,000 people received their first dose of vaccine a week before the lottery announcement, and 113,000 people received it after the lottery announcement.
“We are seeing increasing numbers in all age groups, except those 80 and older, who are highly vaccinated already,” Stephanie McCloud, director of the Ohio Department of Health, told CBS News this week. “Although the rate among that group is decreasing, it is doing so at a less rapid pace, demonstrating some positive impact even in that group.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of May 20, 2021, more than 160 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and about 126 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.