North Carolina launches $1 million giveaway to incentivize vaccinations

North Carolina launches $1 million giveaway to incentivize vaccinations
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Gov. Cooper on Thursday announced that North Carolina will begin a $1 million cash drawing program to encourage people to get the coronavirus vaccine.

What’s happening: From June 23 until August 4, the state will draw a total of four names as winners of a cash prize of $1 million. Drawings will occur every other Wednesday. On those same dates, the state will reward $125,000 in college scholarships to students ages 12-17 who get their first shot.

Eligibility: Everyone 18+ who gets vaccinated or who has already been vaccinated in North Carolina will be automatically entered. Plus, today going forward, anyone who gets a first shot will be entered twice for each drawing.

  • North Carolinians ages 12-17 who have gotten at least one shot are automatically entered into four drawings for the scholarships.

Why it matters: Vaccines are working to curb the spread of Covid-19 and to protect the population from serious illness from the virus. Vaccine supply is widespread in North Carolina, but demand for them has waned. Incentives are a way to get more shots in arms across the state.

“We’re pulling out all the stops,” Cooper said during a press conference. “Of course, the best reason to get vaccinated is to protect yourself and your family.”

Roy Cooper at StarMed, vaccines, North Carolina, COVID-19

Gov. Roy Cooper addressed the media and city officials at a StarMed Clinic in Charlotte earlier this month.

Ohio was the first state to launch a $1 million lottery as a way to incentivize vaccinations. According to state health officials, the lottery system is working: The state saw an average weekly increase of 77%, or an average of more than 68,000 more shots in arms, per week following the lottery announcement compared to before it.

  • Other states have followed suit. In late May, for instance, Colorado governor Jay Polis unveiled the Colorado Comeback Cash Vaccine Drive, a five-week sweepstakes awarding $1 million cash prizes to five vaccinated Colorado residents.

By the numbers: To date, 44% of the total population of North Carolina is at least partially vaccinated, according to the NCDHHS. Forty percent of the state is fully vaccinated.

  • Among the population of North Carolinians 18 and older, 54% is at least partially vaccinated.
  • In Mecklenburg, 47% of the county’s population is at least partially vaccinated. Forty-two percent is fully vaccinated.

North Carolina is not on track to meet its goal of vaccinating two-thirds of its population by July 4, Cooper has said. Additionally, the U.S. is unlikely to hit President Biden’s goal of getting 70% of Americans at least partially vaccinated by July 4, as the AP has reported.

Other incentives: A few weeks ago North Carolina launched a separate incentive program offering $25 gift cards to people who get a vaccine at certain vaccination cites in Guilford, Mecklenburg, Rockingham and Rowan counties. Those who drive people to get a vaccine can also get a gift card.

  • Cooper said more counties will be added to the cash card program in coming weeks.

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