Oregon Latest to Create a COVID-19 Lottery as Ohio Lawmaker Wants to Stop Its Drawings

Posted on: May 23, 2021, 12:02h. 

Last updated on: May 23, 2021, 12:55h.

Yet another state has decided to follow Ohio and offer residents who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination shot a chance at some big bucks.

Oregon COVID Lottery
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, center, stands with other officials last week at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. On Friday, Brown announced the state would create a $1.9 million lottery for vaccinated residents, with one individual winning a $1 million grand prize. (Image: Gov. Kate Brown/Twitter)

On Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced the “Take Your Shot, Oregon” campaign. Oregon plans to give away nearly $1.9 million it got from COVID-19 stimulus money to individuals who have been vaccinated. Its plan is like Ohio, which is giving away five $1 million prizes from federal funds it received,

The state plans to give one lucky Oregonian adult a $1 million prize. In addition, 36 others – one for each county in the state – will get $10,000. Oregon’s also following Ohio’s lead by giving something to the kids who get a shot. Five kids aged 12 to 17 who have received at least one dose will be selected to receive $100,000 college savings plan scholarships.

The Oregon Lottery will help the state’s Health Authority administer the drawing. Every vaccinated resident will receive an assigned number. After lottery officials draw numbers, health officials will match them to the state’s database.

The lottery will draw winners on June 28, and the state will announce them the following week. The state will contact those drawn, giving them a chance to opt out if they don’t want to participate.

Brown said vaccinations represent the quickest way to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The ‘Take Your Shot, Oregon’ campaign is a way to thank Oregonians for stepping up and keeping our communities safe,” she said.

Oregon Latest to Use Drawing as Vaccine Incentive

Like other states, Oregon also has seen its vaccination rate tail off in recent weeks. According to data from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, the seven-day daily average vaccinations have gone from 47,625 on April 8 to 32,350 as of Friday.

In all, 3.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state. In addition, the data shows more than 1.6 million people as fully vaccinated. That last figure represents 39.3 percent of the state.

Oregon’s announcement came one day after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan unveiled that state’s VaxCash promotion. Starting Tuesday and running through July 3, the state will draw the name of one vaccinated resident to receive $40,000. The campaign will end on July 4 with a $400,000 grand prize drawing.

However, unlike Ohio and Oregon, Maryland’s $2 million jackpot fund is coming from the state lottery’s promotions budget.

They’re not the only states using a lottery promotion to entice residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

A Kentucky initiative with Walmart and Kroger that gave individuals a free ticket for a daily state lottery game ended on Friday. Meanwhile, starting on Monday, New York will give out free $20 scratch-off tickets to people who get shots at one of 10 centers statewide. Those scratchers, also sold in retail outlets, offer a grand prize of $5 million.

Ohio Lawmaker Wants to Shut Down COVID-19 Lottery

Sunday is the deadline to enter the first drawing in Ohio’s “Vax-A-Million” giveaway. However, one state lawmaker said she is crafting a bill that would pull the plug on the program.

In a Facebook post from Saturday, state Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, called the vaccine lottery a waste of public funds, and called out Gov. Mike DeWine, a fellow Republican, on his plan.

We don’t need Governor DeWine giving us an award for getting a shot like when we were kids,” she posted. “Ohioans are smart/wise people who make decisions for themselves.”

The plan to give away millions has also been lambasted by Democrats.

“Over the past year, Ohio has been overtaken and riddled with extremist, anti-science ideologies that dominate the state legislature. It is no coincidence that we are now facing significant vaccine hesitancy in our communities,” said state Rep. Jessica Miranda, D-Forest Park. “While I’m supportive of educational scholarships, this is not a solution to our public health or educational shortfalls in Ohio, and I find it troubling that relief dollars are now being used on this stunt.”