Do you want to win $ 1 million? All you have to do is get vaccinated against COVID-19. Well, good luck – one of several million lucky ones.
Washington has announced a lottery for people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The grand prize is $ 1 million and there are other cash awards to be made; as well as game systems, sports tickets, student credits and flight tickets.
“These generous programs will encourage more Washingtoners to take this life-saving vaccine,” said Governor Jay Inslee when announcing the “Shot of a Lifetime” program.
That’s the point, of course – getting more Washingtoners vaccinated against a disease that has occurred in more than 440,000 cases in the state and has contributed to nearly 6,000 deaths. The competition runs until June 30th and people who have already been vaccinated can also win prizes.
Several other states – including Oregon – have already announced lotteries to increase vaccinations. Companies like Krispy Kreme and United Airlines have offered incentives, and Anheuser-Busch announced a free beer for everyone over 21 on July 4th if the nation hits President Joe Biden’s target for vaccine numbers.
“That’s right, take a shot and have a beer,” said Biden.
All of this raises some interesting philosophical and ethical questions. We believe that anyone medically able to get vaccinated should do so. It is a matter of the public good, protecting our families and our neighbors and even strangers with whom we come in contact. A full reopening of society depends on lowering infection rates.
Vaccines and advances in public health have changed the world. Before the mid-20th century, pandemics were relatively common; With the population increasingly concentrated in cities, the spread of disease was an inevitable threat. From 1846 to 1969, seven pandemics are believed to have killed at least 1 million people worldwide.
While people should be vaccinated, many oppose this social obligation; Public opinion polls usually show that around 13 percent of American adults say they refuse to get vaccinated. This raises questions about the role of governments in introducing vaccination – providing a carrot instead of a whip.
“Opponents may never be persuaded to change their minds, but vaccination incentives can persuade others who did not get vaccinated,” an Oxford University ethics professor wrote in an article for the British last fall Medical Journal.
“The benefit of paying for risk is that people voluntarily choose to take that risk. As long as we … accurately convey the risks and benefits of a vaccine, it is up to the individual to determine whether it is worth paying for. “
Whether or not to receive a vaccine is a personal choice, but it affects others. COVID vaccines have been cleared for use in emergencies and are now available to people 12 years and older.
And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines have been evaluated on tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the strict scientific standards of the Food and Drug Administration for safety, efficacy and manufacturing quality. “
Ideally, everyone would take the opportunity to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In Washington, more than 3.5 million people are fully vaccinated. But for the rest, a small incentive and chance to win something in exchange for a vaccination probably won’t hurt.
The Columbian is a family-owned newspaper based in Vancouver, Washington.