Some governments are offering lots of cash for people to get the COVID vaccine; one is offering a free cow

covid vaccine rewards Thailand cows
Photo via Dennis Jarvis/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

Governments are stepping in to provide rewards for people to get the COVID vaccine. In New York, people getting vaccinated can be part of a “vax and scratch” lottery program. In Ohio, there’s an “Ohio Vax-a-Million” program underway. And now, in Thailand, getting vaccinated can result in a free cow. 

The Mae Chaem district of Chiang Mai province is offering the bovine vaccine incentive, according to CNN. The program allows one vaccinated villager to be randomly chosen every week to receive a young cow, worth about 10,000 baht or a little more than $300. 

The campaign is set to run for 24 weeks once vaccinations begin there on June 7, and as CNN reports, the town of 43,000 has been enthusiastic about the offer.

“Our vaccine registration numbers have gone from hundreds to thousands in a couple of days,” district chief Boonlue Thamtharanurak said. “The villagers love cows. Cows can be sold for cash.”

Other Thai municipalities are determining creative rewards tied to the COVID vaccine, including gold necklaces, store discount coupons, or cash. The Asian nation, currently dealing with its biggest COVID-19 outbreak to date, has only had 1.64 million of its approximately 66 million people receive their first doses, though more than 7 million have registered to date. 

While the U.S. is further along in getting its population vaccinated, it’s not above using financial incentives to encourage the more vaccine-hesitant segments of the population. 

As NBC reported, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the lottery-linked vaccination program that will give people a shot at the $5 million Mega Multiplier Lottery. The “Vax & Scratch” program has rewards anywhere from $5 million to $20.

“The chances of winning something in this program is one in nine,” Cuomo said, adding that when one gets the vaccine, “everyone wins,” echoing what public health officials have been saying to encourage inoculation. The program will run five days from May 24-May 28. 

As Nautilus recently wrote, Ohio introduced a lottery program to encourage vaccinations, and according to early numbers from the Buckeye State, it appears to be working. CBS News reported that “just days after DeWine said the state would award five vaccinated residents $1 million each in order to raise vaccination percentages, the Ohio Department of Health reported more than 113,000 people received their first dose of the vaccine.” 

That represents “a 53% week-to-week increase (from May 13-18) compared to the time period before the announcement, where 74,000 people received their first dose (May 6-11).”

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Sources: CNN, NBC New York, CBS News

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