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Ross: Time to turn to Washington’s Lottery to get people vaccinated


We’re hearing reports that the vaccine drive is stalling out nationwide.

Here in Washington, about 42% of eligible adults have had at least one shot, but in some counties it’s been a tough sell. Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat reports that the biggest problem seems to be the large number of people who just do not trust the government.

Across the country, agencies have tried vaccine vans cruising neighborhoods (like ice cream trucks), free beer, and free donuts. However, I believe that even people who don’t trust anything the government does do trust one thing the government does.

That’s why I’m going to suggest that the job of getting people to want to get vaccinated be turned over to Washington’s Lottery. It’s time to use the Department of Imagination instead of the Department of Fear, and I think it could be really easy to do.

Every vaccination card has at least three verifiable numbers on it: your vaccination date, your birthday, and the Vaccine Lot Number.

Here in Washington, the machinery is already in place for Powerball, MegaMillions, Lotto, and Hit5. So I say we add a new game called Big Shot. Each day, we draw a birthday, a vaccination date, and a lot number. If it matches what’s on your vaccination card, you win. If no one wins that day, it rolls over. I’ll leave it to the oddsmakers to calculate the prizes.

You see the beauty of this, right? The people not getting vaccinated are the people who see it as a gamble with no upside, like buying a lottery ticket where the prize is … that nothing bad happens to you. Big whoop.

But with daily Big Shot drawings, suddenly there’s a clear upside that everybody can understand, and you won’t need anymore cajoling, scolding, or guilting.

Because when you play Big Shot – only the virus loses. I think we have our first billboard!

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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