The US state of Ohio has announced the winners of its first lottery draw for Covid-19 vaccine recipients.
Abbigail Bugenske, from a Cincinnati suburb, has scooped the Midwestern state’s first $1m (£700,000) Vax-a-Million prize.
A teenager, Joseph Costello of the Dayton area, won the first college scholarship offered under the same incentive scheme.
The initiative was launched this month to boost flagging take-up of the shots.
Four more $1m and college scholarship winners will be announced each Wednesday for the next four weeks under the programme.
A shot for a shot at $1m
By Caché McClay, BBC News
This Covid-19 lottery heard around the world has rejuvenated the vaccination initiative around my native state. Many local news media outlets and radio stations have reminded residents to get their shots and register for the lottery.
The online sign-up was easy and took less than one minute. There was also a call-in option to make the lottery more accessible to residents.
More than 2.7 million signed up to win the $1m prize and over 100,000 young residents registered for the full four-year scholarship to one of Ohio’s state universities.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, launched the special lottery on 12 May and credits it with reinvigorating roll-out of the jabs.
His office said in a statement: “From May 14 through May 19 as compared to May 7 through May 12, vaccinations in Ohio increased 94% among those 16 and 17 years old, 46% among those 18 and 19 years old, and 55% among those between 20 and 49 years old.”
While the Biden administration has praised the initiative, not everyone in the state approves. The Ohio statehouse’s top Democratic legislator, Emilia Strong Sykes, called it “a grave misuse of money that could be going to respond to this ongoing crisis”.
Nevertheless, the vaccination incentive lottery has spread to New York, Maryland, Oregon and Colorado. Source
This gimmick reveals the lengths to which these scoundrel politicians will go to force people to be injected with this rushed concoction. And as we know from hard experience, what happens in America today, happens in the UK tomorrow. Indeed, BBC Radio Scotland this morning interviewed a young man from Ohio who has been involved in promoting this gimmick. His enthusiasm for the project was warmly welcomed in the studio. Already, then, the seeds are being sown here for a similar deadly enterprise. So, what about it – will the chance, however remote, of becoming a millionaire tempt you to re-think your decision not to be vaccinated? As we know from the example of Judas Iscariot, the prospect of personal enrichment is one of the oldest motives for human betrayal. So, what about it – will you betray your principles and take the vaccine – are your principles, in other words, pretty flexible?