With demand for COVID-19 vaccines in the US waning quickly, both individual states and the federal government are pulling out all the stops to try and convince as many American adults as possible to consent to being vaccinated. Some states have pushed promotions offering free money, free beer, and free doughnuts, among other offers. Oregon is even offering a $1 million lottery for which only the vaccinated are eligible.
As more states embrace these types of incentives, California just announced that it was hopping on the vaccination lottery bandwagon Thursday evening by offering 10 vaccinated residents the chance to win $1.5 million each, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday, while another 30 residents will win $50K cash prizes.
The program is being announced as California struggles to boost its vaccination rate (while the national rate of adults who have received at least one dose has just passed 60%).
More than 288 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed across the US, but the daily rate for patients receiving both their first and second doses is slowing.
Source: USA Today
These types of initiatives are being rolled out across the US as rural areas see comparatively little demand when compared with urban areas.
Now that California is in the mix, 7 US states are offering the possibility of cash prizes for those who choose to get the vaccine. Prizes range from a daily $40,000 prize in Maryland to a $5 million jackpot in New York. Here's a rundown of what other states are offering. Another state, West Virginia, is offering savings bonds to all adults between the ages of 16 and 35.
The Buckeye State is offering $1 million vaccine lottery prizes. The state administered a record number of vaccines in the first two days after announcing the $1 million vaccine lottery.
The money is coming from the state's pandemic relief funds.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Empire State will offer a free $20 scratch-off lottery tickets to the vaccinated for a chance at a $5 million Mega Multiplier Lottery. The program, which was announced last Thursday, ends tonight.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said residents over the age of 18 who sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into the lottery.
"All you have to do to enter is get your shot," Hogan said Thursday.
The cash prizes will be dispersed in daily $40,000 drawings between May 25 to July 3, ending with a $400,000 jackpot, which will be drawn on July 4.
The Kentucky Lottery is giving a free Cash Ball 225 ticket — which usually costs $1 per ticket — to COVID-19 vaccine recipients ages 18 and older. Lottery officials will give 225,000 free tickets out to vaccinated residents in the state.
"I hope this shot at $225,000 will be the incentive needed for more Kentuckians to get a vaccine," Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said. "Helping keep our Kentucky communities safe and a free chance at winning hundreds of thousands of dollars is a win-win for everyone involved. "
As we noted above, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown unveiled the state's "Take Your Shot, Oregon" lottery last week.
Vaccination data from the CDC broken down by county shows that the biggest gaps in vaccination rates are largely between rural and urban communities, with rural areas consistently lagging behind their ally with better resources.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis launched the "Colorado Comeback Cash" program to incentivize residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Starting June 4 until July 5, one vaccinated resident will be chosen at random to win $1 million, with one winner each week for five weeks.
In West Virginia, in a bid to get more young people vaccinated, the state will give out $100 savings bonds to all 16- to 35-year-olds who get the COVID-19 vaccine, including those who have already received their shot.
People Magazine also published an article with instructions for how readers can get the most free stuff with their vaccine card.
The fast food chain is giving out their cake on a stick (take your pick from butter cake, fudge dipped brownie, fudge dipped cheesecake-on-a-stick, or birthday cake) until May 31.
The beloved cheesecake chain is offering a free cupcake-sized taste of their famous cheesecake at their flagship restaurant in Brooklyn until May 31 with proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
Nathan's is offering a free hot dog on the same day of your vaccine at their original Coney Island location in Brooklyn, New York.
The doughnut chain is offering one free doughnut per day for the rest of 2021 to customers who present proof of being fully vaccinated.
Sports franchises, including the NFL, are also offering incentives including free Super Bowl tickets.
The NFL announced during the Global Citizen's VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World event that they would be giving away 50 tickets to Super Bowl LVI to vaccinated people who shared why it was important to get the shot.
The MLB teams are offering vaccinations at their respective stadiums (Yankee Stadium and Citi Field) and a free ticket to a game as encouragement to get the vaccine.
On the services side, President Biden tweeted that Uber and Lyft would offer free rides to vaccination sites.
Help spread the word: From May 24 until July 4, Uber and Lyft will offer everyone in America free rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination sites.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) May 18, 2021
Finally, Office Depot and Office Max are offering free lamination for vaccine cards nationwide through July 25.
And it's not just states that are offering these incentives: Cities and corporations (like Krispy Kreme) are getting in on the action. In NYC, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that tickets to a slew of the city's top destinations and experiences will be made available at a discount or for free to those who've received the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, the mayor of Long Beach, California (hometown of Snoop Dogg and Sublime) is offering two free tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific for those getting vaccinated by May 15.
Finally, we have one simple (awkward) question - why are states, companies, and sports leagues having to bribe people to get vaccinated against "the most deadly pandemic in over a century"?