Massachusetts Offers a Million Reasons to Get Vaccinated [PHIL-OSOPHY]
"Show me the money!"
Cash brings people together when nothing else seems to work. That's why the Commonwealth decided to pitch residents who haven't been vaccinated yet to take a chance to win $1 million in the newly-unveiled Massachusetts VaxMillions Giveaway, intentionally targeting folks who are on the fence about getting the vaccine.
Officials are banking that a cash incentive like this will prompt people who have been hesitant to get the shot, and then have a shot at winning $1 million. I have a gut feeling that this will catch on once the word gets out.
This special lottery is for residents 18 and up, provided they're fully vaccinated with either the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vax or the two-shot Moderna or Pfizer inoculation. The fully vaccinated adults have the chance to win one of five $1 million cash prizes. Fully vaccinated younger kids ages 12-17 are also given the chance to win one of five $300,000 scholarship grants. Fully vaccinated eligible residents can enter beginning July 1, but remember, if you're not vaccinated, you can't play. A full explanation on signing up is available at official mass.gov website.
Quite a few other states are either doing something similar, like in Ohio, or are taking their own approach. For example, Maine residents can choose from a free park pass, hunting or fishing license, or a $20 gift card to L.L. Bean. In Alabama, vaccinated residents were allowed to drive two laps in their own vehicle on the Talladega Superspeedway. From free beer in New Jersey, tickets to Broadway shows and cultural events in New York, to a $100 savings bond from West Virginia, to people in Kentucky receiving a free lottery ticket for a statewide nightly drawing of $225,000.
All the major retailers offer perks, so I think the idea of giving something of value to a fully vaccinated person can only sweeten the chances of success at persuading someone blowing hot and cold to warm up to the idea of perhaps winning $1 million. At last glance, Ohio officials said they had a 20 percent increase in vaccinations following their lottery announcement.
I like the VaxMillions lottery idea. It reminds me of the appropriacy of my brother's tip to me the night before I got married. He asked me if I knew what the difference was between a man buying a lottery ticket, and a man arguing with his wife? He said the man buying the lottery ticket actually has a chance to win!
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.