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Today in carrots and sticks


Free lottery tickets for vaccine recipients are a great idea and the initial results seem promising:

After the state of Ohio announced with great fanfare that residents who got at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine would be eligible to win a hefty $1 million, Jack Pepper saw something remarkable happen at his sleepy rural vaccination clinic.

For the first time in a while, there was a line at the door. Officials, who had been strategizing about how they might give away extra doses, were suddenly operating at full capacity.

“I think we did close to 400 people in four hours,” said Mr. Pepper, the administrator for the health department in Athens County, a county of about 65,000 in southeastern Ohio. “Anywhere I go, people are joking with me, ‘Hey, when am I going to win my million dollars?’”

Anticipation approached a peak as the Ohio lottery campaign — deemed “Vax-a-Million” (including a cheeky bandage on the X) — announced its first winner on television on Wednesday night. Abbigail Bugenske of Silverton, Ohio, near Cincinnati, won the first $1 million prize.

It was among the first of several chances for Americans to win big money — if they have been vaccinated.

Colorado announced its own $1 million vaccine lottery this week, and Oregon is offering a $1 million jackpot, in addition to $10,000 prizes. Elsewhere, state and local officials are getting creative with simple approaches (free beer in Erie County, N.Y.) and fancy ones (dinner with the governor of New Jersey, anyone?).

Some of these will work better than others, but we need to be trying and experimenting.

This is a good idea too:

Particularly if the NFLPA wouldn’t agree to mandatory testing, this is an adequate substitute — give players a choice, but make people who refuse to take a safe vaccine to protect themselves and others bear the full burden of their choice.

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