Over the past few weeks, several states in the US have decided to use the lottery as a form of reward for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Ohio and Maryland were among the first to offer a coronavirus lottery drawing, and this week, officials in Illinois, New Mexico, and West Virginia have decided to provide lottery prizes as well for those who are vaccinated.
Each state is offering something a little different. Some are providing large cash drawings, while others are throwing in vacations and vehicles. While the prizes are different, the end goal is the same; to see as many people vaccinated as possible so that perhaps life can get back to normal. The COVID-19 pandemic has been ongoing in the US since March 2020, and vaccinations have only been available for the past few months to the general public.
Vax 2 the Max in New Mexico
In New Mexico, the Vax 2 the Max program was announced this week, with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham providing the details. Residents that are vaccinated can register to win prizes from a total prize pool of $10 million. The grand prize of the drawing is $5 million.
The governor stated that receiving the vaccination is the right thing for everyone to do:
for yourself, for your family, and for your state. I am excited to add a little fun to our nation-leading vaccination push.”
Starting next week, there will be four drawings for prizes of $250,000 each in four regions of New Mexico. Smaller prizes will also be on offer, including lottery scratch tickets to win vacation packages in the state and museum tickets. The larger $5 million drawing will take place in August.
In Illinois, the COVID lottery program is still being worked out. On Tuesday, the state budget passed, allowing officials to place $7 million aside for prizes connected to a COVID-19 lottery drawing. An additional $3 million was set aside for minors to receive college scholarships.
More information on the Illinois special lottery should be provided in the coming days as officials figure out how to set up the program.
West Virginia Vaccination Incentive Lottery
Also, on Tuesday, Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia provided details regarding an incentive lottery drawing. The lottery will start on June 20 and continue through August 4. The state has decided to take a different approach than others, offering several getaway packages, guns, trucks, and prize money.
According to the governor, the grand prize will be $1.588 million in cash. Second place will earn a $588,000 prize. There will also be full scholarships for students who are vaccinated. Prize drawings will also take place, offering custom shotguns and rifles for hunting along with lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.
Governor Justice sees the effort as crucial to saving lives and helping the financial strain caused by hospitalizations and vaccine clinics. Governor Justice said:
The faster we get people across the finish line, the more lives we save. That’s all there is to it. If the tab just keeps running, the cost of enormous. The hospitalizations are enormous. We have to get all of our folks across the finish line.”
Fully vaccinated individuals in West Virginia are eligible for prizes. A registration website will launch soon to provide easy access for the vaccinated to sign up for the drawings.
Ohio and Maryland were among the first to launch incentive programs connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Ohio, players can participate in the Vax-A-Million contest with cash prizes up for grabs for adults and college scholarships for students.
In Maryland, officials launched VaxCash, a program that will run through July 3. Each day, one person will win $40,000. The state is possibly the only one in the US to offer a prize each day for several weeks. Most states are featuring a prize drawing per week with much larger incentives.