SC lawmaker proposes vaccine lottery as incentive for people to get their shots

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SOUTH CAROLINA (WSPA) – Vaccinated South Carolinians could soon be entered into a lottery to win $1-million dollars — at least, that’s the latest proposal from House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford. He believes this is just one way to incentivize people living in the state to get their shot.

On Wednesday, Representative Rutherford proposed a proviso to the Budget-Writing Committee to spend $2-million dollars advocating and enticing people to get vaccinated.

“It’s simply to make it so that our numbers in South Carolina do what they did in Ohio, where they went up 29-percent by instituting this type of lottery,” Rutherford said.

He said the response he’s received to the idea has been overwhelmingly positive.

Patrick Iaccarino said he is on board.

“One-million dollars would incentivize me to do a lot of things,” Iaccarino said. “Vaccination would be one, yes.”

If you’ve already gotten the shot, don’t worry, you would still be eligible.

Rutherford said even adolescents would in the pool, as it’s about getting as many people as possible to get on board.

“Some people are hesitant, other people simply are not going to get it,” Rutherford said. “And for those people who are not going to get it, we’re not going to win. But for those people who are hesitant, maybe this is what it takes for them to go and get a needle in their arm, and make it better for everybody.”

Representative Rutherford said the proviso introduced will put the logistics into the lottery’s hands.

“My suggestion to them would be to allow as many people to get in as possible,” Rutherford said. “If you can verify that you’ve been vaccinated, allow them to enter as well because this is about inclusion, not exclusion.”

He said his proposal for $2-million dollars is being tabled for next week for lawmakers to decide if they want to distribute smaller money amounts to more people.

But he argues that $2-million dollars to get more people to get vaccinated is a bargain.

“Because once we get 70-percent, 75-percent of people in this state that are vaccinated, we’re winning,” Rutherford said. “And if that costs us one-million dollars, two-million dollars, so be it.”

Rutherford said some of the other conversations discussed Wednesday regarding the lottery could be to also come in the form of a scholarship.

The budget proviso will be presented before the House next week.

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