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August 5, 2021

Editorial: More creative vaccination lottery ideas

How about some more creative vaccination lottery ideas?

North Carolina last week announced a vaccination lottery offering four $1 million prizes and four scholarship opportunities for those aged 12-17. Because this is the first full week with incentives in place, the state won’t know for some time whether vaccination rates pick up. Still, it’s worth thinking about what more creative awards exist to gin up excitement if and when booster shots are needed.

Gov. Roy Cooper might have trouble drumming up support for a second rendition of the same contest, which would bring prizes from nearly $4.4 million to $8.8 million. Already, N.C. Treasurer Dale Folwell is calling the contest “bribing people regarding a personal medical choice.”

“The N.C. Emergency Management Act was never intended to create a lottery for vaccines. What’s next?” Folwell asked after Cooper’s announcement.

The Post issued a call in its Sunday editorial for other vaccination lottery ideas. Some of those ideas are included in the following. Let’s shoot for new ideas that don’t require significant amounts of taxpayer funding.

For the college sports fans, state officials could easily organize a pre-game meet-and-greet along with game tickets to any of the state’s largest public colleges. Some free courtside seats for a Duke-UNC matchup in Chapel Hill might generate more interest in getting vaccinated than four $1 million prizes. For Mountaineer fans, free tickets to a football game might be worth getting a booster shot.

With a goal of stopping a global pandemic, Cooper and state officials likely could get North Carolina’s pro sports teams on board for a similar offer — a meet-and-greet with a player and tickets to a game. How about a few laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway with a NASCAR driver or allowing someone to drive their own car around the speedway for a few laps?

Other states are offering items such as free hunting and fishing licenses. North Carolina could waive all fees associated with state parks for a year?

While we’re dreaming, how about getting Duke Energy on board to pay for a year of a customer’s electric bills. finding a way to provide free airline tickets to another domestic airport or renewing someone’s license plate for more than a year so they avoid losing more precious moments of their life in a Department of Motor Vehicles office?

Even with smaller rewards than the lottery Cooper announced, politicians will cry foul about bribing people to get a vaccine and wasting money on something that’s a personal choice. But the real waste amid a global pandemic is to continue to allow people to die without trying everything available.

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