Oregon officials bet that lottery will boost COVID-19 shots

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon officials are betting that the desire to win $1 million in a lottery will boost the percentage of Oregonians who are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

With only half of the people living in Oregon either fully or partially vaccinated, Oregon Lottery officials approved a plan Friday to hold a lottery. Those who have been vaccinated by June 27 will be eligible.

“It’s never been easier to get a vaccine, so don’t miss your shot to enter,” Gov. Kate Brown said.

She told reporters this is an effort to raise the percentage of adult Oregonians who get vaccinated to 70% in order to fully reopen the state.

The Oregon Health Authority says 50% of Oregonians are vaccinated, with 39% having completed the series and 11% in progress.

If Oregonians have received at least a first dose of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson, they are automatically entered to win through the state’s vaccine database. Brown, responding to a question at a Zoom news conference, said people who are in Oregon illegally and have been vaccinated are also eligible to win the prize.

Other states are also trying the tactic, including New York, Maryland and Ohio.

Oregon ranks 19th in the nation in percentage of people who have received one dose, said Pat Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority. Oregon is on track to 70% of its residents being vaccinated by the end of June, Allen said.

The Oregon campaign is funded with $1.86 million in federal pandemic relief and is a collaboration between the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Lottery.

Oregonians 18 and older will have the chance to win $1 million or one of 36 $10,000 prizes, with one winner in each county. Residents age 12 to 17 will have a chance to win one of five $100,000 Oregon College Savings Plan scholarships.

The drawing will take place June 28.