State leaders on incentives for vaccinations

FILE — A health care professional applies a bandage on the arm of a patient who had just...
FILE — A health care professional applies a bandage on the arm of a patient who had just received the COVID-19 vaccine.(KEYC)
Published: May. 21, 2021 at 4:34 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The demand for COVID vaccines is a big concern for health leaders in Alabama and across the country. Some states are turning to incentives as a way to increase demand for shots.

Ohio launched a lottery last week. This week Maryland and New York jumped on the lottery incentive train trying to get more people willing to get shots.

In Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a lottery for those who got vaccinated with a chance to win $40,000 dollars a day for forty days. “Our mission is to ensure no arm is left behind and we are committed to leaving no stone unturned,” Gov. Hogan said.

Ohio started their vaccination lottery last week and the state has seen an almost 30% increase in vaccinations “There are people ready to do it or almost ready to it and this incentive of possibly winning a million dollars,” Gov DeWine said.

Alabama’s demand for vaccinations has dropped dramatically. Birmingham Representative John Rogers is alarmed at the decline. “I’m concerned a lot of black folks don’t trust vaccinations because of Tuskegee Project. They are concerned they would be used as guinea pigs.”

Rogers, who has supported gaming for years, believes some types of incentives--including a lottery--would work. “If the pot is big enough, they will take four or five shots. If you offer four or five million dollars, a 100 million dollars for a shot, they will get shots in both arms,” Rogers said.

Of course in Alabama it’s illegal to have a lottery until the legislature passes a constitutional amendment and voters okay it. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has said his office has looked at incentives. He believes private businesses with offers of free service or tickets to events could work. Birmingham City Council President William Parker is also looking at incentives, He told WBRC Fox6 News he is keeping an eye on the lottery states

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