POINT RUSTON, Wash. - While big bucks are on the line, the Washington State Lottery is not the only incentive campaign attempting to encourage people into getting COVID-19 vaccinations.
Pierce County also launched its own incentive program, offering free flights on Alaska Airlines.
But will the incentives be enough to push vaccination rates to a degree that allows our economy to reopen?
The sunny weather and busy parks along Tacoma and Ruston’s waterfront invites families to enjoy being outdoors. But, phase 3 restrictions continue to hamper businesses – and deciding when they should lift depends on who is asked.
"We’re vaccinated, how about you?" asked Makalai Michaels, who helped her niece, Emporess, solve a car emergency at Tacoma’s Thea’s Park.
As the region remains in Phase 3, the two agreed that luring people hesitant to receive the vaccine might be a small price to pay. Remaining there would be a worse crisis and they agreed that luring those hesitant to get the vaccine is a small price to pay, they said.
"This is something killing hundreds of thousands of people, and you just refuse? How do you look at your family and say your life doesn’t matter to get the stupid shot?" said Michaels.
"I guess they’re getting that desperate," said Allisha Navarro who agreed the price of incentives was justified, should normal become possible again.
Allisha Navarro says the price of incentives is worth it, if normal is ever again possible.
"People should be getting it just to make the world open up again," she said.
Governor Jay Inslee announced the Shot of a Lifetime giveaway on Thursday. Up for grabs is $2 million through the state lottery. Likewise, tuition and expense assistance is part of the program. Sporting tickets, gear, gift cards, airline tickets, games and more round out the list of possible prizes being offered by the state.
Pierce County also has its own vaccine incentive program. The county teamed up with the Washington Hospitality Association and Alaska Airlines when it launched the Dine in, Get Vaxxed, Win Big campaign.
It began at the start of the month and lasts through June 11. The program offers vaccination clinics across the county. The requirements to enter include participating in vaccine clinics and visiting participating restaurants.
But, some people believe the incentives are bribes, and most should take the vaccine as others across the globe are not afforded the same opportunity.
But for some, what amounts to a bribe aimed at convincing the unvaccinated to participate is the wrong step.
"Think about India, think about Africa," Guoyi Zhing pointed out. "They have no vaccine."
Others told Q13 News they think the vaccines have moved too fast, and believe the personal choice should lead the way out of this pandemic.
"I don’t get mad when people want me to get my mask on," said Bryce Schaffer who has not yet planned to receive a vaccination.
The goal line is a fully reopened state economy by the end of the month, or when 70% of eligible adults are vaccinated. Some government leaders believe it is possible to beat that deadline.
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