As American political leaders grow increasingly desperate to convince U.S. citizens to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Ohio Governor on Wednesday topped offers of baseball tickets and beer with a $1 million prize drawing.
Mike DeWine, a Republican, said 5 Ohio residents would win the money in once-a-week drawings for adults who have received at least one shot of the now-plentiful vaccines. The money will come from federal pandemic relief funds.
“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,'” the governor wrote on Twitter. “But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic – when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it – is a life lost to COVID-19.”
According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, around 117 million U.S. citizens, over one-third of the U.S. population, had been fully vaccinated as of Wednesday.
In recent weeks, the pace of inoculations has slowed because of ambivalence or skepticism about the medication and declining cases. The number of U.S. citizens seeking vaccines has fallen by a third in recent weeks, according to the CDC.
Connecticut and New Jersey have made deals with brewpubs and bars to offer a free drink to the newly inoculated. Maryland state employees who get vaccinated are offered $100.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that the Mets and Yankees baseball clubs would hand out free tickets to fans who got vaccinated at their parks before games.