Louisiana’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is among the lowest in the nation. To address that, the state government has rolled out a Louisiana COVID-19 vaccination lottery, offering cash and even college tuition to residents who choose to get the shot.
Registration for the lottery is now underway and the program will announce its first winners in just a few weeks. Similar programs have been effective in other jurisdictions, although Louisiana has a way to go to catch up.
Louisiana COVID-19 vaccination lottery details
If you’re a Louisiana resident and you have already received at least one shot of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine — or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine — you’re eligible for the program. Louisianans who get those doses during the lottery period become eligible as well.
Eligible residents can register online or over the phone at (877) 356-1511. Once a person registers, they are eligible for all drawings happening thereafter. To register, interested people will have to provide proof of both residency and vaccination.
Drawings will take place once a week, on Wednesdays, for five weeks. Drawings will commence on July 14. In each of the first four weeks, prizes will include a $100,000 college scholarship and $100,000 cash.
In the final drawing, five $100,000 scholarships and $1 million in cash are up for grabs. The odds of winning any of these prizes depend on how many people register for the lottery. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards hopes the total number of registrants soars.
Louisiana playing catch up on vaccination rate
According to Melinda Deslatte of the Associated Press, just 37% of Louisiana’s population of at least 18 years of age have opted to receive at least one dose of the two-shot vaccinations. Among US states, only Alabama and Mississippi lag further behind. Edwards expressed his hope that this program will improve that figure.
“We need more people to go sleeves up before we can truly end the pandemic,” Edwards said. “Shot At A Million is a reward for those who’ve already gotten vaccinated and a fun nudge for others to get the vaccine sooner rather than later.”
Other states to utilize similar programs have included California, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Ohio. In Ohio, the state claims it boosted the vaccination rate by 45%. In New York, where residents have been able to get free NY Lottery instant win tickets for vaccinations, the state has eclipsed the 70% margin.
If this lottery can replicate the results in Ohio, then Louisiana might catch up with New York. At the very least, no one can say that the state hasn’t gone to great lengths to incentivize vaccination among its residents.