Oregon offers $1M prize to get COVID vaccine; $100K scholarships for teens

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Would $1 million change your mind about getting the COVID vaccine?

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and state health officials sure hope so.

Brown and the Oregon Lottery on Friday afternoon announced the “Take Your Shot” campaign, which gives anyone 18 and over who’s had at least one dose of the vaccine a shot at a $1 million prize.

Additionally, 36 people – one person from each county – can win $10,000 while Oregonians age 12-17 can win one of five $100,000 college savings plan scholarships.

The campaign is a collaboration between the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Lottery and is funded with $1.86 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Act dollars.

“It can save your life and, just maybe, make you a millionaire,” Brown said during a lunch hour news conference.

Anyone who’s already had the vaccine is automatically entered.

You have until midnight on June 27th to get vaccinated and have your name added to the database.

They’ll draw the names of winners on June 28th and announce them the following week.

“It’s not meant to be a bribe. It’s an incentive.
We’re trying to create an incentive to participate.”
– Dr. Ashby Monk, executive director,
Stanford Global Projects Center

The goal, obviously, is to quickly increase vaccination numbers across the state.

Currently, 63% of eligible Oregonians have had at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the CDC.

Brown has set a target rate of 70% to fully reopen the economy and end many of the COVID restrictions businesses and the public have been dealing with for more than a year.

To reach that target, about roughly 288,800 more Oregonians need to get vaccinated.

Brown sets 70% vaccination goal to lift COVID restrictions, reopen economy

Other states have offered similar incentives to boost vaccination efforts.

In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled a lottery system earlier this month that will give out five $1 million prizes or full-ride scholarships.

Hundreds of thousands of people opted into the contest and vaccinations jumped 6% in those age 30-74 in the days following the announcement.

Vaccinations there had fallen by 24% week over week prior to the announcement.

Dr. Ashby Monk, executive director of Stanford’s Global Projects Center, helped Oregon develop the lottery incentive.

He said based on similar incentive-reward campaigns, Oregon could see a 20% jump in vaccinations among those currently hesitant to get the shot.

It could reach as high as 40%, he said.

“Sometimes you need a creative tool to cut through some of the anxiety and fear and misunderstanding and this is that kind of creative tool to cut through and help people make the right decision,” Monk said adding it’s “not meant to be a bribe, it’s an incentive. We’re trying to create an incentive to participate.”

Monk said people can opt-out of the lottery if they don’t find the incentive appealing.

Oregon officials say privacy will be maintained during the process.

According to the OHA, every vaccinated Oregonian is already added to a vaccination database or list.

Each name on that list is assigned a number and that number (only that number, zero private data) is passed over to the Oregon Lottery for a random, secure drawing, the OHA said.

After the drawing, that winning number is passed back over to the OHA to match back up with the database to inform the prize winners.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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