A Vaccine Lottery? Gov. Cooper Says He’s Looking Into It.

Kevin Fisher, of Quincy, Mass., left, receives his second shot of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from RN Katherine Francisco, of Avon, Mass., right, at a mass vaccination clinic, Wednesday, May 19, 2021, at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, Mass. A month after every adult in the U.S. became eligible for the vaccine, a distinct geographic pattern has emerged: The highest vaccination rates are concentrated in the Northeast, while the lowest ones are mostly in the South. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

By Sarah Ovaska

June 2, 2021

To boost vaccination rates, North Carolina’s governor is researching rewarding vaccinations with a game of chance.

Could North Carolina join other states in hosting a lottery to boost vaccination rates? It’s too early to say. 

At a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper was asked again (and again and again) if North Carolina would join other states in rolling out lottery-style games with big prizes to boost vaccination rates. Just under half of North Carolina’s adults are fully-vaccinated, a number that needs to be higher to get the state back to where it was.

Cooper didn’t commit, but said he’s been looking into it.

“We are still examining what’s happening in other states, studying the effectiveness of it,” Cooper said. “And we want to make sure that everything is done right, legally, and that we make sure that we approve something that works.”

We’ll take that as a “maybe.”  

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But don’t wait to get your vaccine, as the free-to-you shot is the best way to protect yourself and others from the potentially deadly disease that sent us all home last year. (You can find appointments here).

Anyone 12 and older can get vaccinated at this point.

“We still have people in the hospital and dying every day,” Cooper said. “So, there is more work to do to get us to the end of this.”

As of Wednesday, 49.2% of North Carolina’s adults, and 39% of the total population, were fully vaccinated. Data is also showing demand for vaccines dropping, with fewer weekly doses being distributed as the nation pivots to trying to improve access to harder-to-reach people and convincing hold-outs.

National Sprint to Vaccinate

President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he wants an “all-of-America sprint” to get 70% of American adults to have at least one vaccination shot by July 4.

He announced some ways to get there, with major pharmacy chains such as CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens agreeing to open up their doors all day and night on Fridays, as well as free drop-in child care at major child care providers including the YMCA. There will also be special efforts in the South to bring vaccine distribution to Black-owned salons and barbershops.

The White House is also backing vaccine incentives, like the one announced Wednesday by Budweiser to give away free beer if the US hits that 70% vaccinated goal.

Here in North Carolina, there are $25 bonuses in four counties for people coming to get their vaccine or if a person brings someone to get their vaccine.  

The $25 Summer Cash Cards are being offered for first doses at select vaccination sites in Guilford, Mecklenburg, Rowan, and Rockingham counties. The idea is to reward people for taking the time and transportation costs, and will be offered through Tuesday.

(You have to be over 18 to get the cash cards).

And then Krispy Kreme, the North Carolina-based company of glazed goodness, is still offering a free donut each day to those who are vaccinated.

Regardless of your reason, there’s plenty of opportunity to get a vaccine now

“We have a strong supply of COVID-19 vaccines in North Carolina, and it’s free to everyone,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary.

Housing Help for Those Who Need it

Cooper is hoping more people turn to a state-run program if they are behind on rent and utilities. Though the state is under an eviction moratorium through the end of the month, many people have seen their bills pile up and could be at risk of eviction once the moratorium is lifted. 

The NC HOPE (Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions) Program is taking applications, using federal money to stave off evictions. The program is operating in 88 of the state’s 100 counties. (The remaining 12 counties and five Native American tribes are running their own programs with the federal aid money.)

North Carolina set up the NC HOPE program last year, but outstripped its initial funding by helping 36,000 people. The program was reopened two weeks ago with additional money coming from the American Rescue Plan, the sweeping federal COVID economic recovery plan. 

Very low-income households that have missed rent or utility payments, or were out of work during the pandemic, can apply for help. And if you received help before, you can reapply.

Payments will go straight to landlords and utility, and people could get rent assistance for up to a year. 

You can apply here for help or call 1-888-927-5467.


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