Maine is going to offer a cash prize of more than $875,000 to try to convince more people in the state to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
More than 56% of the state’s total population is fully vaccinated against coronavirus. That’s one of the highest percentages in the country.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Wednesday the state will hold a drawing to give one vaccinated person $1 for every person vaccinated in Maine by July 4. The winner would get $876,655 if the drawing took place today.
“We know the best way to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, is to get vaccinated,” Mills said. “We want to beat out Vermont, we want to beat out Connecticut. New England sibling rivalry.”
The state is accepting registrations for the drawing until the end of the day of June 30. The state plans to announce the winner July 4.
Mills said the sweepstakes is intended to help the nation meet President Joe Biden’s goal of getting at least one shot of vaccine to 70% of American adults by July 4. She said the drawing is open to everyone 12 and older who has received at least one dose of vaccine.
"We landed on this talking to a lot of experts in the area," said Mills, explaining the rationale behind the program during a press conference on Wednesday.
On Thursday, a handful of people in Portland's East End park said they were skeptical of the idea convincing people.
"I would think some people, but probably not that many," said John Dargis, who was visiting Portland from Bar Harbor.
"I don't think it will be very effective," said Cameron Brooks-Miller of Portland. "etting the public on board with a general knowledge of epidemiology as a state would probably be more beneficial … but I don't know how, or what that would look like."
"I think anyone that's not vaccinated right now doesn't want to be," said Peter Soucy, also of Portland. "I'm vaccinated, and I got vaccinated a long time ago, but I know a lot of people don't want to get vaccinated."
State officials said more than 1,000 people had signed up for the drawing within hours of Mills announcing it.