More States Offer Million Dollar Cash Prizes for COVID Jabs

By: - June 22, 2021 12:00 am

Peter Vegas was the third of five weekly million winners for getting a COVID-19 shot in Colorado. Nationwide, at least 13 states are offering million-dollar prizes to boost vaccination rates. David Zalubowski/The Associated Press

With less than two weeks left, the country is unlikely to reach the Biden administration’s goal of vaccinating 70% of adult Americans by July Fourth. But aiming to get as close to the mark as possible, five more states have launched million-dollar lotteries to entice the unvaccinated to get a jab.

Since June 4, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts and North Carolina have joined California, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Washington state and West Virginia in offering adult residents a chance to win million-dollar prizes if they accept a COVID-19 vaccination, plus scholarships for youths ages 12 to 17 who get a shot.

As of June 22, 150 million Americans were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 177 million had received at least one shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By mid-July, 160 million Americans will be fully vaccinated, said Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator, at a June 22 briefing.

Although the nation won’t reach the administration’s goal of administering at least one shot to 70% of all American adults, Zients said current data shows that 70% of Americans 30 and older already have received at least one shot and 70% of people 27 and older will have received at least one shot by July 4.

Sixteen states and Washington, D.C., already have surpassed the 70% goal.

Vermont has the highest vaccination rate, with 84% of its adult population meeting the criteria. It is followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, California, Maryland, Washington, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia, New York, Illinois and Virginia.

At the bottom of the list, 16 states have administered one shot to fewer than 60% of adults.

Mississippi has the lowest rate, at 45% of adults, followed by Louisiana, Wyoming, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Arkansas, Idaho, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, North Carolina, Indiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Ohio.

Louisiana (48%) is offering residents a chance to win $100,000 every week starting July 9 and a grand prize of $1 million at the end of the month, plus nine $100,000 scholarships for 12- to 17-year-olds who get a shot.

North Carolina (55%) is issuing four $1 million prizes and four $125,000 scholarships.

Kentucky (61%) is tendering three $1 million prizes and 15 full scholarships to state universities.

Illinois (71%) features $7 million in cash prizes and $3 million in scholarships.

And Massachusetts (81%) boasts five $1 million prizes and five college scholarships.

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Christine Vestal

Christine Vestal covers mental health and drug addiction for Stateline. Previously, she covered health care for McGraw-Hill and the Financial Times.