U.S. introduces incentives to encourage more people to get vaccinated
States and cities across the United States are offering lotteries, cash payments or other incentive programs to encourage more residents to get COVID-19 vaccines.
U.S. daily administered doses fell in late April and May, according to data of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 1-million-dollar cash prizes to a free dinner with state governor, states are introducing incentives as part of their efforts to boost vaccination rates.
"We encourage states to use their creativity to draw attention to vaccines and get their states and the country back to normal as quickly as possible," said Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser on the national COVID-19 response.
California, the most populous U.S. state, announced Thursday to offer 116.5 million U.S. dollars in prize money to stimulate residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as it prepares to fully reopen on June 15.
Starting Thursday, the state will give 50-dollar gift cards for grocery or other uses to the first 2 million Californians who get shots.
Meanwhile, all those aged 12 or older who received at least a dose will be automatically eligible for the prize money drawing in June.
Top ten winners will receive 1.5 million dollars each on the first day of the state's reopening. Another 30 people will take a 50,000-dollar prize on June 4 and 11.
Ohio unveiled a Vax-a-Million lottery program in mid-May to boost lagging vaccination rates.
The state announced its first 1-million-dollar vaccine lottery winner Thursday, a 22-year-old from Shaker Heights.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, vaccination numbers increased during both weeks following Ohio Governor Mike DeWine's announcement about the lottery program.
Maryland, New York and Oregon have announced similar programs to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates.
U.S. President Biden has set a national goal to get 160 million Americans fully vaccinated and at least one shot administered to 70 percent of individuals by July 4 holiday.
Over 40 percent of the American population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Sunday, and over 50 percent of the population has received at least one dose, according to data of the CDC.
The number of Americans fully vaccinated is more than 135 million, CDC data show.
Among the fully vaccinated, nearly 41 million are people 65 years of age or older, accounting for 74.8 percent, according to the CDC.