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Titus bill would create national COVID-19 vaccination lottery

Updated June 8, 2021 - 5:53 pm

WASHINGTON — Nevada Rep. Dina Titus filed a bill Tuesday that would create a national vaccine lottery to dole out $1 million each to 100 randomly selected winners to boost sagging COVID-19 inoculation rates.

The concept has worked in Ohio, and other states such as Colorado also have provided incentives with lotteries to get those reluctant and wary of shots to receive the Food and Drug Administration-authorized COVID-19 vaccines

“You don’t have to be from Las Vegas to know that everyone enjoys having a chance to win big,” said Titus, a Democrat whose district includes downtown Las Vegas and the Strip.

The Take Your Shot Act would require the Treasury Department to set up a national lottery. One hundred randomly selected winners 18 and older would receive $1 million each with proof of vaccination and valid Social Security and taxpayer identification.

The $100 million jackpot is relatively small compared with the economic gains of getting more people vaccinated, Titus said.

“Governors across the country have shown vaccine lotteries can work,” she said in a statement. “For a relatively small investment, a national vaccine lottery could save lives and help get our economy back on track.”

She cited statistics from Ohio that showed that vaccinations increased 28 percent after the state announced its lottery.

The rate of COVID-19 vaccinations has fallen despite the growing availability of the shots. Although surveys show some people distrust the government or the medical system, others have not taken the time to get a vaccination, which is now available at most drugstores.

In a May 21 White House teleconference call with reporters, senior adviser Andy Slavitt of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response team, said state vaccine lotteries “appear to be working,” mainly by prompting participation of people who don’t prioritize vaccinations very high.

President Joe Biden has called on businesses and organizations to help with the vaccination effort.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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