As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts try to keep forging forward, some countries and states have decided to incentivize their residents in their own ways.
The state of Ohio in the U.S. is nearing the end of its pandemic restrictions on June 2, as Marketwatch reported, and in an effort to keep its residents healthy and safe, it's going to offer $1 million prizes and university scholarships.
The plan is to incentivize more people to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Ohio's governor Mike DeWine announced the strategy on Wednesday, May 12, posting the information in a series of Twitter posts. Starting from May 26, the governor's office will announce a winner of two separate lottery drawings every week for five weeks.
The pool of names for the drawing will be derived from the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database. Further, we will make available a webpage for people to sign up for the drawings if they are not in a database we are using.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 12, 2021
One of the drawings is geared towards adults over 18 years old who must already have their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, and who must be a resident of Ohio. Each winner will receive $1 million. The second drawing is for five students under 18 years old who must also have had their first COVID-19 jab, and they'll win a four-year full scholarship to one of the state's public universities.
DeWine's team explained that the funds are coming from coronavirus relief funds that already exist.
COVID-19 vaccine incentives backlash
There is already some backlash towards the incentive. Some people are concerned about the huge amount of money being spent to entice people to get vaccinated whereas there are other nations, like India where there is a huge coronavirus spike in cases and where people are desperately waiting for their jab, don't need any incentives but can't get access to a vaccine as they're just not available.
Others are preoccupied about inoculating children aged between 12 and 17 years old, citing unknown side effects. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the OK for teens between those ages to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in emergency situations earlier this week. As we also previously reported, Pfizer's CEO explained that the vaccine is 100 percent effective in children between 12 to 15 years of age.
Different countries and states are finding their own ways of increasing the number of their vaccinated residents, like New York state's vaccine passport that hopes to enable locals to attend events, and perhaps Ohio's way will work. As Marketwatch reported, 42 percent of Ohioans have already received at least one vaccine dose, but DeWine hopes this number will increase before restrictions are lifted in less than a month.