Ohio Almost Has It Right

Ohio, and now it appears other states are following Ohio’s lead, almost has it right. It is holding a vaccine lottery. If you are a permanent resident of the state, over 18, and are fully vaccinated, you are eligible to win. There are, it appears, one winner a week over a five week period.

What a great idea to try and get people to go get vaccinated…tempt them with money, the chance to win $1,000,000. The odds of winning aren’t too bad for the first drawing, not great either, but not too bad as the first pool will be the smallest. The last drawing has the least best odds because, if it works, more people will have been vaccinated and in the pool.

Although it is very sad we have to lure people with money to get vaccinated. At one point in our country, people would have done it because it was the right thing to do for the good of the country. We used to, at least it seemed, to care about our neighbors, towns, and cities.

Since it is the world in which we live, having a monetary carrot to dangle before people is probably a worthwhile endeavor. However, the politicians are thinking too small. If they truly want people to get vaccinated, they need to make a couple of adjustments in their thinking.

First, they need to take the vaccines to the people and do away with appointments. It is frustrating, speaking from experience, to navigate some of these appointment portals. For some pharmacies advertising nationally they have walk-ins is actually not true (again, speaking from experience). Vaccinate those 12 and older at schools by having parents sign a consent form and return it to the school the day before the vaccines are to be done. This would also be the place to vaccinate all school personnel. Same thing with college students, take the vaccine to a common area on campus for walk-ups. Show up at night clubs, restaurants, and grocery stores. Travel around to nursing homes and assisted living centers.

Is traveling around the most efficient way to get vaccines out to the public? Not really, it is more efficient to have set locations, but people don’t operate in efficient ways as a whole. Plus, if there are transportation issues, mobility issues, available hours issues, etc., going to all those places above, and major employer locations, would ensure a higher number of people get vaccinated.

The second thing to do, if going to have a lottery, is to pay everyone a stipend to get vaccinated. States have received some discretionary funds from the federal government from the emergency aid packages. Use these funds, and state funds as needed, to pay anyone who gets vaccinated (even applied retroactively). As soon as you receive your second shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or your single dose of Johnson and Johnson, one gets handed a gift card worth say $500. The return on investment would be pretty good because we could then get back to the business of living in a free society, and moving about as we once did while achieving the proverbial herd immunity.

I’ve never understood the reluctance to give the everyday man and woman a helping hand when we give one to the excessively wealthy all the time.

If public health and safety is truly a priority, it is time politicians put the money on the table for everyone, and let’s get this pandemic behind us.

What say you?

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