A U.S. State Is Offering Residents A Chance At $1 Million If They Get Vaccinated

Multiple states and businesses have launched incentives for getting a COVID-19 vaccine but none have been as financially generous as Ohio’s.

This Thursday, April 8, 2021 file photo shows Kent State University students getting their COVID-19 vaccinations in Kent, Ohio. | AP Images
This Thursday, April 8, 2021 file photo shows Kent State University students getting their COVID-19 vaccinations in Kent, Ohio. | AP Images

The state of Ohio is offering up to five residents a chance to win $1 million as an incentive to get vaccinated.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced Wednesday that his office will begin drawing names of people who have gotten at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on May 26 — drawing a winner each week for five weeks. Each person whose name is drawn will win a $1 million cash prize.

Other states, local governments, and businesses have offered different incentives for people to get the vaccine, though none have been as grandiose as the $1 million cash prize. In recent weeks, vaccine demand has reportedly gone down in Ohio.

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,’” DeWine said in a tweet. “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 DeWine, names will be drawn from the Secretary of State’s voter database, federal coronavirus relief funds will cover the winnings. Any Ohio resident over the age of 18 who has been vaccinated before a drawing is eligible to win the money.

For younger recipients of the vaccine, DeWine said the state will offer a chance to win a full scholarship — including tuition, room and board, and books — to a state university.

DeWine announced earlier this week that Ohio would lift COVID-19 restrictions including the statewide mask mandate starting June 2. He said that schools and businesses will then be in charge of creating their own rules.

What are some other vaccine promotions?

Krispy Kreme said it would give vaccinated customers a free donut every day for the rest of the year. White Castle offered a free dessert-on-a-stick, and Budweiser offered to give customers 21 and up free beer for a limited time in exchange for getting vaccinated.

Maine started an incentive that offers vaccinated residents a free fishing and hunting license, an L.L. Bean gift card, tickets to local events, and other freebies. New Jersey launched the “Shot and a Beer” program that offers a free beer, while Connecticut introduced a similar deal.

Roughly 58% of adults in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Joe Biden has set the goal of having roughly 70% of U.S. adults receive at least one shot by July 4.