At the same time we take one step forward from government overreach and Covid panic, with the CDC finally ending its mask mandate, it feels like we're taking two steps back, as the desperation to get literally every single person on Earth vaccinated still feels more and more palpable - even as the nation nears 50% of its population having at least one dose of the vaccine already.
As if there weren't enough citizens out there who would blindly do what the government tells them to do anyway, states like Oregon are now simply luring citizens with promises of riches.
The state's Governor Katie Brown announced on Friday "lottery prizes ranging from $10,000 to $1 million for Oregonians vaccinated against COVID-19," according to Oregon Live.
The “Take Your Shot Oregon” lottery will be held on June 28 and is for all residents 18 and older who have gotten at least one shot of the vaccine.
One "winner" will receive $1 million and one person from each Oregon county will also receive $10,000 prizes. The report says:
Only vaccinated people will be entered into the new lottery, which will use names from the Oregon Health Authority’s database of people inoculated against COVID-19. But officials want to be careful about protecting privacy, so the health authority will only give lottery officials individual identification numbers assigned to each vaccinated resident. The lottery will draw from those numbers, then notify the health authority of the winners.
Winners will have the option of declining the prize money. But the names of Oregonians who accept the money will be made public.
The state is even holding a special lottery for those under 18, offering $100,000 contributions to Oregon College Savings Plans, which is money that can be used for college.
52% of Oregonians have already been partially vaccinated, the report notes. The state peaked at about 43,000 doses per day on April 11 and is now vaccinating citizens at a clip of about 30,000 people per day.
Herd immunity is estimated to be at between 70% and 85%, leaving some epidemiologists skeptical the United States will reach the threshold.
Gov. Brown said: “We will need to pull on every lever we have. So if you’ve been waiting to get a vaccine or you just haven’t gotten around to it yet, we’re going to give you an extra incentive. How about a chance to win a million dollars? It can save your life and just maybe make you a millionaire.”
Oregon follows in the footsteps of Ohio, who did a similar lottery that helped its vaccinate rate surge by 28% the week they implemented it. Maryland and New York have also instituted vaccination lotteries.
Ashby Monk, who is executive director of the Stanford Global Projects Center, concluded: “This is not meant to be a bribe. It’s an incentive. I think people can opt out. They don’t have to play the lottery if they don’t find the incentive appealing."