The state of Ohio has come up with a solution to give an incentive to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Vax-a-Million sweepstakes, which is giving away five US$ 1 million prizes to vaccinated residents, has boosted the state’s vaccine rate by more than 28% in the first three days. The rate amongst Ohioans aged 20 to 49 has increased 55%.

The first winner was chosen on 25 May 2021 from a pool of 2.8 million entries.

According to Forbes online, a recent Harris Poll showed that over two thirds of Americans like the idea of using incentives to get vaccinated. Other states have offered sought-after tickets to major sporting events.

United Airlines, clearly wanting to kick start the travel industry, has launched its own sweepstake that is only open to fully vaccinated travelers. Every day in June, the airline will give away a pair of round trip tickets for two, in any class of service, to anywhere in the world where United Airlines flies. There is more. On 1 July 2021, United Airlines will dip back into the same pool and randomly pick five winners for the grand prize. Free flights for two, anywhere in the world, for an entire year. Win, win, win: good for consumers, good for United Airlines and good for the country.

Maryland unveiled a vaccination lottery of its own in May 2021, providing up to US$ 2 million to residents to get vaccinated. The Maryland lottery will randomly select one person a day from a list of people who have been vaccinated to win a US$ 40,000 prize. There will be 40 drawings over 40 days for US$ 40,000 and a final drawing on 4 July, US Independence Day, for US$ 400,000.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a programme that would provide lottery scratch-off tickets to people 18 and older who get vaccinated.

We know that vaccinations are the vital piece of the puzzle we need to crush Covid once and for all,” Mr 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.”

“This new pilot programme will offer a greater incentive for New Yorkers to get vaccinated by offering a free scratch-off ticket for a chance to win up to US$5 million,” Mr Cuomo said.

State and federal authorities have been looking for ways to get more vaccinations done, sometimes partnering with restaurants and other businesses. Promotions include free beer, free doughnuts, free baseball tickets and savings bonds for people who get vaccinated.

By Warwick Bartlett