COVID-19 shot incentives are gimmicky, but that’s OK

Some have criticized the lotteries as a waste of money .... but what could be a better use of those dollars than saving lives while protecting a county’s economy from a fresh outbreak?

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Editorials

June 8, 2021 - 9:49 AM

Register reporter Richard Luken gets his second COVID vaccine shot from Allen County Health Department’s Megan Neville. The vaccines are free. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Jonathan Carlyle of Toledo, Ohio, had every intention of getting a COVID-19 shot — someday. The Amazon delivery driver was so busy that he kept putting it off. Then he learned that his state was launching a weekly lottery that would award $1 million to some lucky person just for getting vaccinated.

“As soon as I heard that, I was like, ‘Yes, I need to go do this now,’” he said Thursday during a press conference with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. Carlyle received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID shot two days after learning about the incentive, and it was a good thing he didn’t wait. On Wednesday Carlyle found out he was the second winner of Ohio’s “Vax-a-Million” lottery.

No one can say for sure how many Americans would be motivated to get a shot by the prospect of a big payday or some other financial inducement, as  Carlyle was. More than a third of U.S. adults have yet to be vaccinated for COVID-19, and surveys have shown an array of reasons why people haven’t signed up for their shots.

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