Gov. Cooper to announce NC COVID-19 vaccine lottery

The lottery would be similar to programs in Ohio and other states. Anyone who has taken the COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina will be eligible.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to announce a new statewide incentive program to get people to take the COVID-19 vaccine. 

According to WRAL in Raleigh, Cooper’s new program will involve a cash drawing similar to the programs in Ohio and several other states. Anyone who takes the COVID-19 vaccine would be eligible for the lottery but details are still being worked out, like if residents would have to opt-in, or if the state would use its vaccination database to pick winners. 

This new program comes as the state’s vaccination rate has leveled off and a pilot program that offered $25 cash cards in four counties showed promise in convincing some people to take the shot. Cooper is scheduled to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. Thursday. 

Local clinics, like the ones operated by StarMed Healthcare, said the $25 cash cards led to a significant increase in vaccinations. 

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“That’s why we are looking at all of these incentives to try to get more people vaccinated,” Cooper said. “We are not alone in this. Almost every state has faced a plateau that they’ve hit right now, so we’ve got to keep working and hope we can get there eventually.”

According to the latest data from the Department of Health and Human Services, 54% of adults statewide have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to nearly 64% nationwide.

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StarMed told WCNC Charlotte they’ve seen at least a 15% increase in demand after the $25 cards were made available. Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said the cards were effective, “probably even more so than we thought.”

“It’s been an incredible success. Every day it gets bigger and bigger, more people are interested, more people are talking about it, so we’ve been really excited and encouraged by the success up to this point,” said Tracey Hummell, the chief operating officer of StarMed Healthcare.

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