Ohio governor, Mike DeWine, top right, has launched the scheme to persuade more state residents to get their Covid vaccines (Picture: PA/Getty)The US state of Ohio will give away $1million to five lucky individuals who get their Covid jab – in a bid to tackle a recent slump in vaccine take-up.
Mike DeWine, Ohio’s Republican governor, announced the jaw-dropping scheme on Wednesday in the hope of persuading more state residents to accept their Covid vaccines.
It comes as the pace of US vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks due to skepticism about the drugs or hesitancy over side-effects. The number of Americans seeking vaccinations has dropped by a third in recent weeks, according to the CDC.
In trying to boost vaccine take-up in his state, DeWine has said that over the next five weeks, Ohio officials will draw the names of five people from its list of residents who have received at least one jab, and award them $1million each.
Vaccine take-up has dropped off in recent weeks in the US (Picture: SIPA USA/PA)The lottery scheme will be funded by the state’s federal coronavirus relief funds, DeWine said during a televised announcement.
On Twitter, DeWine said: ‘I know that some may say, “DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money”.
‘But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic – when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it – is a life lost to Covid-19.’
In addition to $1million prizes, DeWine also announced plans to incentivize children aged 12-17 to get vaccines. The state plans to draw the name of one vaccinated child to receive a full, four-year college scholarship at a state university – including fees for room, board, and books.
Ohio’s scheme is one of many incentives that have been rolled out by officials across the US in the hope of boosting the dwindling demand for Covid vaccines.
West Virginia’s governor, Jim Justice, said the state would award young residents who get jabbed $100 savings bonds, while Maryland is offering $100 to state employees who get the vaccine.
New Jersey, on the other hand, is offering residents a free beer to get their jabs.
Ohio governor, Mike DeWine, announced the lottery scheme on Wednesday (Picutre: AFP)Experts believe the fall off in demand for vaccines is partly down to barriers that face low income families who have not been able to access vaccines yet. Some Americans are unable to step away from work and family responsibilities for long enough to attend their vaccine appointments and recover from any side effects.
Others citizens face language barriers or are unsure of how to use online systems to sign up, or are unable to get to and from appointments.
To address some such barriers, the Biden administration has allocated $6billion for health centers serving low-income communities.
Joe Biden is aiming to have at least one vaccine dose administered to at least 70% of the country’s adult population by 4 July, and the drop-off in take-up puts that target under threat.
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