Las Vegas Democrat floats national COVID-19 vaccine lottery: $1 million prizes

A congressional Democrat representing Las Vegas introduced legislation on Tuesday to create a national vaccine lottery with $1 million payouts from U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Rep. Dina Titus said her bill’s total of $100 million in federal cash prize was needed to ensure the largest number of citizens available received the coronavirus vaccine.

“You don’t have to be from Las Vegas to know that everyone enjoys having a chance to win big,” she said. “With vaccine demand slowing down, we have to get creative.”

The bill, titled the Take Your Shot Act, would mandate the Treasury Department establish a national vaccine lottery with $100 million of prize money at the ready. The money would be doled out as $1 million prizes for 100 randomly selected U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or older and possess a valid Social Security number.

To claim their winnings, individuals would have to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, according to the legislation.

Ms. Titus stressed that the legislation does not give the federal government authority to collect data for the use of establishing a national vaccine registry.

The bill comes as several state and local governments have created incentive programs to boost vaccination rates. The incentives have differed widely by state and jurisdiction.

For instance, New Jersey has launched a “shot and a beer” initiative, in which individuals 21 years old or older who get their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine can get a free beer from a participating brewery. The state of Minnesota is offering a diverse array of prizes, including fishing licenses and free tickets to local amusement parks.

The most successful incentive programs have revolved around a cash prize. Ohio, most notable, has seen vaccination rates jump by as much as 45% after instituting a $1 million state lottery.

“Governors across the country have shown vaccine lotteries can work, and we can make even more of a difference at the federal level,” Ms. Titus said. “For a relatively small investment, a national vaccine lottery could save lives and help get our economy back on track.”

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