(The Center Square) – Add Kentucky to the list of states willing to turn vaccinated adults into millionaires.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced the “Shot at a Million” program. Those 18 and older can register to win a $1 million prize if they have received either the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine or at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
The state will hold drawings July 1, July 29 and Aug. 26, with one winner picked each time and announced the following day.
The state will also give away 15 full-ride scholarships to an in-state public university or college to children aged 12 to 17 if they have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Kentucky has set up a website to accept entries as well as a toll-free phone number for those without internet access. One registration will make people eligible for all remaining drawings.
The decision comes as Beshear said more than 2 million Kentuckians have received at least a dose
“We need to do even more,” Beshear said. “We need even more of our fellow Kentuckians to get vaccinated before we can truly be free of COVID-19 threat.”
Kentucky is not the first state to go this route to encourage more vaccinations. Neighboring Ohio launched its “Vax-a-Million” drive last month and has already given away two of the five $1 million prizes. States like Maryland and Oregon have also announced similar initiatives.
The prize drawings have raised some questions, especially concerning the use of taxpayer money.
Kentucky U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Garrison, a frequent critic of the government’s handling of the pandemic said on Twitter that the governor has been “infected with the vaccine-lotto disease.”
“Folks, this is your money, not his, that he’s giving away,” Massie tweeted. “How do they do this without a vote of the legislature?”
According to information from the state, the Kentucky Department of Public Health is using a portion of the federal COVID-19 relief dollars for public outreach and education to fund the drawings.