Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday a $2 million cash lottery system to incentivize people to get their COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
Hogan announced VaxCash 2.0 Promotion, a lottery incentive system that will dole out a total of $2 million in cash prizes to 12 randomly-selected Maryland residents who receive their booster shot.
The initial draw will be $500,000 to take place on Feb. 15. After that, there will be weekly prizes of $50,000 for ten weeks. The final prize will be awarded on May 3 when a COVID-19 vaccine-boosted Maryland resident will be awarded $1 million.
No registration or entry is needed, according to Hogan’s office. State residents 18 and older who have had their primary COVID-19 vaccines, as well as their booster shot, are eligible to be in the drawing for the cash prizes.
According to Hogan’s office, Maryland is one of the most vaccinated U.S. states with 90 percent of adults vaccinated. More than 11.1 million vaccines administered, with almost 2.1 million booster shots administered.
Maryland was among several states in mid-2021 that announced cash lottery incentives to encourage people to get vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.
Hogan announced in 2021 that a Maryland resident would be selected at random every day for 40 days for a prize of $40,000 ending July 3, 2021, after which a person will receive a grand prize of $400,000.
Meanwhile, New York held a lottery with prizes ranging from $20 to $5 million for 13 randomly-selected vaccinated winners. Colorado offered lottery prizes of $1 million each for five randomly-selected residents above 18 years of age who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while residents aged 12–17 who got the vaccine would go into a draw to be one of five to win a full four-year scholarships to attend Ohio public universities. Ohio offered similar incentives to Colorado.
An analysis of vaccination rates from Ohio published in the journal JAMA suggested that lottery-based incentives were not associated with increased vaccination rates, despite initial reports that suggested there was increased vaccine uptake. The initial reports, researchers said, did not account for the expansion of vaccine eligibility to adolescents that took place around the same time, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2021 gave emergency use authorization for teens aged 12–15 to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
In another study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2022, researchers reported they “did not find evidence that vaccine lottery incentive programs in the US were associated with significantly increased rates of COVID-19 vaccinations.”
“Given the lack of a strong association between state lottery-based vaccine incentives and increased vaccination rates, further studies of strategies to increase vaccination rates are needed,” researchers wrote.
Vaccine manufacturers are immune from liability for any adverse reactions unless there’s “willful misconduct” involved.
Health care providers who administer COVID-19 vaccines are required by law to report any serious adverse effects or vaccination administration errors to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.