NEW ORLEANS — A shot for a shot at a million dollars.
That’s the grand prize for getting a Covid vaccine in Louisiana.
Thursday, Governor John Bel Edwards announced a lottery program for people who have gotten their shots by the end of July.
There will be one, 1 million-dollar award for recipients 18 and up. Nine $100,000 scholarships for winners ages 12 to 17 and four $100,000 cash prizes.
“All together we are giving away $2.3-million in cash and scholarships for people who decide to go “sleeves up” against Covid,” Edwards said. “Everyone starts out a winner because in order to participate, you’ve got to get your shot. You’ll be protected from Covid 19.”
The state has the third-lowest vaccination rate in the country at about 37%.
That’s ahead of only Alabama and Mississippi.
These days you have to work hard not to get your shot.
Vaccination sites are popping up in the community, at the mall and now at Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans.
Recent high school graduate Chris Ngo made a special trip to the airport to get his shot.
“I didn’t get it before because we were kind of weary about the experimental vaccine so to speak,” Ngo said. “We just waited it out a little bit and all of us have our first dose now.”
It could be a risky summer for those who remain unvaccinated.
Most Covid mitigation measures have been relaxed and the more contagious Delta variant is now starting to spread.
“This is a preventable disease,” New Orleans Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno said. “There’s no reason why we should be worried about another surge. I’m concerned that we are.”
Avegno called the state’s vaccine incentive program “big and bold.”
“New Orleans is doing pretty well compared to many other areas of the state,” Avegno said. “We’re close to that 70 percent of adults vaccinated. But not all areas of New Orleans are close to that 70-percent. that’s exactly where these more contagious, more severe variants are going to take hold. They’re going to spread. They’re going to send people back to the hospital.”
Shot at a million is Louisiana’s version of the lottery programs seen in a few other states.
Ohio saw as much as a 49 percent increase in vaccinations among people 16 and older with its vax-a-million program.
“It’s the way we can make sure we return to normalcy and are able to safely gather and listen to music and enjoy ourselves,’ Edwards said.
Registration for Louisiana’s Shot At A Million lottery begins Monday, June 21, 2021, at noon CDT. Louisianans who have gotten the vaccine can register online at ShotAtAMillion.com. Residents who do not have access to the internet or who have questions can call the toll-free hotline at 877-356-1511 to register, starting Monday.