ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Governor Larry Hogan, with a lottery ball by his side, announced the big vaccination incentive from the State House: starting next Tuesday, the Maryland Lottery will start giving out $40,000 prizes to the vaccinated every day for 40 days. On the Fourth of July, the state will draw a grand prize for a $400 thousand winner.
"Get your shot for a shot to win," Hogan said.
You have to be 18 or older and a resident of Maryland. You also must have received at least one shot of vaccine in the state.
To protect privacy, names will be matched with computer-generated numbers and the lottery will draw a random daily winner.
"Me personally I'm about to, yeah I'm about to go get vaccinated," said Antonio Banks of Baltimore.
This is a move to boost demand for vaccinations, which has slowed.
"Maybe it will just get people to pay attention and finally go out and get vaccinated so we can get finished," Hogan said.
Winners can remain anonymous and will be contacted using the information they gave when they got vaccinated.
"I think it's a great idea. I think you have to inspire people with the carrot, not the stick right," said Keith Walsh of Baltimore.
The money will not be taken from lottery proceeds dedicated to education or other causes. It will come from the Maryland Lottery's marketing budget.
The director of the Maryland Lottery said the odds are much better than games like Mega Millions. "We think there's a tremendous benefit for the lottery itself for the promotions. We also spoke with folks in Kentucky who have a similar program, and early anecdotal evidence suggests that they're already more than covered the cost of that promotion in media exposure," Director Gordon Medenica told reporters.
Medenica also stressed that adults already vaccinated would be automatically entered in the drawings.
"It's depressing that it's necessary to incentivize people with money. To me, it's the ultimate first-world problem," Ryan Meyers told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren.
Meyers, who has already been vaccinated, added, "Listen, if it works, I'm all for it."
Matthew Clark has not yet been vaccinated. Hellgren asked him if such an incentive would make a difference. "I would think twice about it. Hearing that, I think anybody would. At the end of the day though, for my personal choice, it would not be because of the money. It would be more because of whether I want to or whether I'm ready to or not," said Clark.
Earlier this week, Maryland's Health Secretary said he was open to all incentives. He warned lawmakers that getting the next one million vaccinations could be more difficult.
"I know the public who don't understand the science behind the vaccination and how important it is, needs another form of encouragement to get vaccinated," said Jamir Blanding of Baltimore.
Maryland is already giving state employees $100 if they pledge to fully vaccinate themselves and get all recommended booster shots. Governor Hogan has encouraged private businesses to give vaccination incentives as well.
In Ohio, where a lottery vaccine incentive was announced several weeks ago, the state says vaccine demand for those age 16 and older is already up 28 percent.
This story was originally posted on May 20, 2021.
for more features.