New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on June 1 announced a lottery program that will award a total of $10 million in cash prizes to residents who have received at least one coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine dose.
“Getting vaccinated is the right thing to do – for yourself, for your family and for your state,” Lujan Grisham said. “I’m excited to add a little fun to our nation-leading vaccination push.”
The state’s program called “Vax to the Max” has a grand prize of $5 million, the largest single cash award being offered by any state with a similar program. (Related: SPOOKY: Health Ranger predicted “vaccine lottery” ten years ago, now Ohio just announced a $1 million vaccine lottery for experimental covid injections.)
Vaccine lotteries have become a popular way to persuade people to get vaccinated. The headline on the program’s website isn’t even trying to hide its true purpose: “Get Vaccinated for Your Chance to Win the Grand Prize of $5,000,000!!!”
For five weeks starting in mid-June, the program will award $250,000 to winners in each of the state’s four health regions through a lottery. In early August, the state will award a grand prize of $5 million to a single winner. The program is being paid for with federal pandemic relief money.
The prize money offered by New Mexico would go far in the state that is one of the poorest in the country – ranking 48th in per capita income of around $45,800, according to the Department of Commerce‘s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
To be eligible for New Mexico’s cash awards, a person must be a resident of the state, register for the drawing, be at least 18, not be incarcerated and have received at least one vaccine dose in the state. A person must be fully vaccinated to win the grand prize, according to the program’s website.
New Mexico officials are hoping cash rewards will increase vaccination rates in the state. Nearly 56 percent of New Mexico’s 1,680,605 residents age 16 and older who are eligible are fully vaccinated, according to the New Mexico Department of Health website.
Some experts have warned that offering large prizes for getting vaccinated could backfire by inadvertently suggesting that the vaccines are problematic. Still, several states seeking to increase vaccination rates have announced lotteries and cash giveaways for people who get vaccinated.
Ohio was the first state to announce a vaccine lottery for both young and adults. The first of five drawings to select a $1 million winner was held on May 26. Vaccinated individuals in Ohio now have four more chances to win. The lottery will also provide five young people, ages 12 to 17, with full-ride college scholarships to any Ohio state school.
California’s vaccine lottery is the largest to be announced and will give away $1.5 million each to 10 Californians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. On Friday, June 4, the state will hold the first drawing of the recently announced $116.5 million “Vax for the Win” incentive program to encourage more Californians to get vaccinated.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently unveiled the “Colorado Comeback Cash Vaccine Drawing,” which will select five vaccinated residents to win $1 million. Since the contest has been announced the percent of residents who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine increased one point to 45.4 percent.
Delaware Governor John Carney on May 25 introduced the program called “DE Wins!,” an incentive program aimed at increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates in Delaware. All vaccinated individuals above 12 years old “will be entered to win $5,000 in cash and additional prizes in twice-weekly drawings conducted by the Delaware Lottery.” On June 30, two vaccinated residents will be eligible to win the $302,000 grand prize.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, on May 20, announced the “VaxCash Promotion,” which gives those vaccinated in the state a chance to win $40,000. On 4 July, one person will be selected to win the $400,000 grand prize.
Oregon Governor Brown on May 21 introduced the “Take Your Shot” program. Residents of Oregon have until June 27 to get vaccinated to have a chance of winning $10,000 (36 winners) or $1 million (one winner). Younger Oregonians could win one of five $100,000 scholarships to Oregon universities or colleges. The campaign is funded with $1.86 million from the federal Coronavirus Relief Act.
West Virginia became one of the latest states to launch a COVID-19 vaccine lottery. The state announced that it will be giving away cash prizes and goods like riffles and trucks. (Related: West Virginia bribes residents to get them vaccinated.)
Leaders in Hawaii, Illinois, and Louisiana have announced that their states are also working to establish a COVID-19 vaccine lottery.
The bribes to get people vaccinated were modest in the beginning.
In April, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice offered a $100 savings bond to convince younger residents to get vaccinated.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont touted a two-week program starting May 19 where adults can get a free drink at specific restaurants if they show their vaccination cards.
Follow Immunization.news to know more about the bribes offered by various states to persuade people to get vaccinated.