State Health Officer Scott Harris: ‘We’re looking at ways’ to encourage vaccinations with lotteries, college scholarships using federal funding
During his most recent appearance on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris floated the possibility of Alabama using a lottery or college scholarships to encourage people to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Harris cited the so-called “vax-a-million” program implemented by the state of Ohio to increase vaccinations.
He said his agency was investigating ways to use federal money to fund those programs.
“Vaccine incentives are really interesting,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how we can do that. You know, we had some concern early on about incentivizing people, particularly with small gifts or small amounts of money, because it feels like that would unfairly influence people who are low-income people. And we don’t want to have people make medical decisions just because they really, really need, you know, $20 or something like that.”
“I think that lotteries that give out large amounts of money really eliminate that problem,” Harris continued. “If everyone has a fair shot, it’s not going to incentivize low-income people perhaps more than high-income people. And so, we’re looking to ways to do that. As you know, Ohio has done that. I think they had their first million-dollar payout to someone earlier this week. You know, that’s an exciting thing. We’re trying to get guidance now from the feds on how federal money can be used to do that. I know some states have used it to fund scholarships, college scholarships, and I think that’s a really attractive idea. We are investigating if we can do that here in Alabama.”
“So, I think you’ll see more and more people trying to do incentives like that,” he added.
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.