COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio, the state that started the national movement to provide millions of dollars in incentives to increase vaccination rates, planned to complete its program on Wednesday – is still unable to meet the vaccination threshold of 50%.
The state is not alone in awarding the awards with mixed results.
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The announcement of the incentive program by Republican Governor Mike DeWine on May 12th had the desired effect, leading to a 43% increase in state vaccination numbers compared to the previous week. But the number of vaccinations has declined since then.
“The effect clearly diminished after this second week,” admitted DeWine on Wednesday.
Several other states followed Ohio’s lead, including Louisiana, Maryland, and New York, with the impact on vaccinations being difficult to determine.
As part of New Mexico’s “Vax 2 the Max” sweepstakes program, vaccinated residents were able to win prizes from a pool totaling US $ 10 million. The rewards include a grand prize of $ 5 million to be drawn later this summer. The sweepstakes kept the vaccination rate from going down any further, but the initial surge was small. According to the governor’s office, the seven-day average of new vaccination registrations in the first week of the competition was 1,437 per day – just 85 more per day than the previous week.
California gave away $ 116.5 million in prizes – the largest pot of vaccine prize money in the country – and Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said they increased vaccinations at a time when more was needed to get people to do so To overcome reservations or indolence.
From the announcement of the incentives on May 27 to the finals on June 15, Newsom said California was one of the few states where vaccination rates rose week-to-week, including a 22% increase in the week leading up to the award Grand prizes.
The Sacramento Bee found that the increase was skewed because the previous week included three lower vaccination days over Memorial Day weekend, and found that most of the increase was from the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks after the birth 12 to 15 year olds were entitled to participate on May 13th.
In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice, a Republican, was hoping to use a series of awards ceremonies to breathe new life into a vaccine campaign that slowed dramatically after a strong early start.
When he announced the drawings last month, Justice had forecast that more than two-thirds of eligible residents 12 and older would be vaccinated by the time he removed the mask mandate on Sunday. But the state missed that target – 61.5% had received at least one dose by Sunday’s first drawing.
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In late May, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that Oregonians 18 or older who received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine would automatically participate, for $ 1 million, or one in 36,000 US dollar prizes to be won – with one winner in each district. Oregonians ages 12-17 have the chance to win one of five US $ 100,000 scholarships. The drawing is scheduled to take place on June 28th.
The Oregonian reported in early June that the seven-day average of adults who received their first shots had dropped from about 9,000 the day before Brown, a Democrat, to announce the lottery to 6,700 almost two weeks later.
This month, Brown announced additional prizes including travel packages to destinations across Oregon and more than 1,500 $ 100 gift cards that were released on the weekend of the 12th sites.
In Colorado, vaccinations have slowed since Democratic Governor Jared Polis launched the lottery last month, with about 589,000 fewer doses given in the month since Polis announced, compared to the same time a month before the contest began.
The state is offering five residents the chance to win $ 1 million each in weekly lottery draws from June 4 through July 7.
In Ohio, about 5.5 million people had received at least one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as of Wednesday, or about 47% of the population. Approximately 5 million people, or 43% of the population, have completed the process.
While the incentive’s success was short-lived, it got Ohioans who either crossed the line or those who weren’t planning on getting the vaccine to get vaccinated, the Ohio governor said.
As evidence, Jonathan Carlyle of Toledo, an Amazon delivery driver who won the second $ 1 million prize on June 2, said the next day, “When you all announced the Vax-a-million, when I heard this, I was like, ‘Yes, I have to do this now.’ “
The state announced its final winners on Wednesday, with Esperanza Diaz of Cincinnati receiving the $ 1 million award and Sydney Daum of Brecksville, Cuyahoga County receiving the Full Ride Scholarship.
DeWine continues to urge Ohioans to get vaccines, saying the end of state social distancing requirements, the return to personal school classes in the fall, and the spread of virus variants continue to be of concern. Last week, DeWine held a press conference at Thomas Worthington High School in suburban Columbus, along with students and coaches urging middle and high school children who play sports to get vaccinated.
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