Ohio distributed one million dollars in prize money to the winner of a special lottery open only to people who had received a COVID-19 vaccine shot.
Abbigail Bugneski was the first winner of Ohio’s Vaxx-a Million sweepstakes, a five-week contest for anyone receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. There has also been a separate contest for 12- to 17-year-olds, offering four-year full-ride scholarships to any Ohio state college or university, including room-and-board and book fees.
More than 2.7 million people participated in the adult lottery, and 104,000 12- to 17-year olds participated in the scholarship lottery. About 39 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, according to Ohio’s state health department.
California has set aside $15 million dollars in prize money for its vaccine lottery, “Vax for the Win,” with a number of $50,000 awards and a grand prize of $1.5 million. The contest is open to any Californian as young as 12 years old who gets at least one shot and agrees to become fully vaccinated.
Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Oregon are also offering vaccine jackpots.
Sweepstakes Incentivizing Vaccinations
Vaccine sweepstakes may be an effective way to get the vaccine-hesitant over the edge.
“If you can convince yourself you have a realistic possibility of winning the lottery, you may be the same kind of person who has an unrealistic view of blood clots,” Robert Williams, a professor at the University of Lethbridge in Canada and a researcher on gambling behavior, told ABC News on May 26.
The “vaccine sweepstakes” may be in response to growing skepticism about vaccine need, says Joel Hirshhorn, author of Pandemic Blunder.
“The more informed people are, the more they understand that they do not need a COVID vaccine if they already have strong natural immunity from being infected at some time, and don’t want their healthy children vaccinated because they have no significant health risks from COVID,” Hirschhorn told Health Care News.