Spoiler alert: Unless your name is Chloe Zinda, you did not win the $1 million Oregon Take Your Shot lottery, dangled in front of vaccine-wary residents as an incentive.
The fine arts major from Oregon State University said at a news conference on Friday that when she first got the call and text message from the Oregon Health Authority, she thought it was a scam. But when she figured out it was real, she says, “I was so shocked—I ran downstairs, screaming. It was insane.”
All of the adult Oregonians who’ve received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine were automatically entered into the state’s lottery; residents ages 12-17 who’ve gotten their shot could still win one of five $100,000 college scholarships. Additionally, there are county-level prizes still to be announced around the state.
As of Friday, 70.3 percent of adult Oregonians have received at least the first dose of a vaccine, according to Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen, making the state 18th in the nation for the percentage of its total population that has chosen to get vaccinated.
In prepared remarks, Allen emphasized that the vaccine drive has substantially beaten back Covid-19 in the state, even in the face of fast-spreading variants. Case counts, hospitalizations and deaths have all “plummeted” in the last six weeks, he said, and only 99 people are currently hospitalized statewide because of Covid-19, the lowest number since last September.
Zinda says she was motivated to get her vaccine because of her part-time job as a swim instructor.
“It was important to me to make sure that our kids were staying safe and healthy,” she said. “Getting the vaccine protects not only you, but your community.”
As for the money, Zinda called it life-changing. It will allow her, she says, to “pay off my student loans and open my own studio someday.”
Similar lotteries have proliferated around the United States as governments try to convince vaccine reluctant and/or those who fear taking time off work to get the shot and recover from any potential side effect that getting vaccinated is worth their while.
Meanwhile, globally, there is a massive shortage of vaccines in less wealthy countries. Across much of Africa, for example, fewer than one percent of the population has so far been vaccinated and cases are rising in certain hot-spots, including South Africa and Namibia.