Oregon Lottery officials recently approved a plan to hold a lottery for those who have been vaccinated. One person will receive $1 million, and 36 others (1 per county) will receive $10,000 each. Additionally five residents age 12 to 17 will receive $100K as scholarships. Total to be paid out to 42 people is $1.86 million, funded by federal pandemic relief.

The only people eligible to receive money are those who have been vaccinated by June 27. Anyone who is not vaccinated (fully, or at least in process) will not be included in the drawing. The reason they have not been vaccinated is irrelevant. Doctor tells patient to not get vaccinated due to existing medical conditions or upcoming medical treatments – not eligible. Concerns about effectiveness of vaccine, or about which vaccine their medical professional uses – not eligible. Personal belief preferences – not eligible. Considers 95%+ survival rate an acceptable risk – not eligible.

Is that the best use of the federal pandemic relief funds? There are thousands of people who are homeless, and/or hungry due to COVID. How many are there who require medical care due to COVID related illnesses they have despite being vaccinated? There are thousands more who served on the front lines of the pandemic, putting themselves and their families at risk to help others. These are people who perhaps could be housed, or fed, or could receive medical care or a monetary token to let them know they are appreciated.

I understand that COVID-19 is nasty and needs to be eradicated. I just happen to disagree with the method proposed to achieve that goal.

Jeffrey Weiler


If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.

React to this story:


Recommended for you

(7) comments



It has been said that lotteries in which one pays money for a minuscule chance of a significant payoff are a tax on people who can't do arithmetic.

Well, these vaccine lotteries are an incentive to people who don't understand the relatively simple arithmetic of cost benefit ratios of vaccinations, and will drive more people to a rational behavior, even through an irrational incentive. (Even though the vaccine is free, there are costs associated with getting to the vaccination site, opportunity costs, and so on.)

I recognize that you didn't write the headline, "Feels like relief funds could have been spent better than on a lottery," but it is the case that science and economics are not based on *feelings*, but on evidence, and the evidence is that incentives like the lottery system work to increase vaccination rates, and to save lives, better than simple advertising or other many other means to get people to get vaccinated who wouldn't otherwise do so. Simply put, this money is well spent.

Here is a nice Wired story:



Jeffrey Weiler,

Vaccinations save lives. Much of Oregon, and certainly Douglas County, has not been vaccinated for a variety of reasons. It's easy to gripe about what the government is doing wrong. If the lottery is a bad use of money, what is your solution to increasing vaccinations?


A chance to win a $1 million prize has helped boost Ohio's Covid-19 vaccination rate by 45%, Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday.


Scott Mendelson

There are people who absolutely refuse the vaccine because they believe it will make them sterile, alter their DNA, cause their genitals to wither away, disintegrate their brain, and allow a microchip to be implanted in their arm for government tracking. But throw in a beer and a free scratch-n-win ticket, and it's, "Gee, in that case! Sure!"


I have one of those in my own family and even the chance at a million bucks isn't moving him. Heels firmly dug into what he believes is solid ground. Deep sigh ...


Scott: and oh: make you magnetic!

Osteopath Sherri Tenpenny is definitely over-priced:https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/06/09/sherri-tenpenny-magnetized-vaccine-ohio/

Scott Mendelson

If the people that were truly able to get a vaccination were not so ignorant, selfish, and stupid, then this extreme measure would not have been necessary. This virus has killed 600,000 Americans, and will kill more. It is unfortunate that people don't simply volunteer to be vaccinated, as the virus is far and away more dangerous than the vaccine. Stupid people demand stupid measures.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.