McMaster: Vaccine lottery not necessary in SC

Updated: May. 29, 2021 at 7:13 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says a vaccine lottery would be a waste of money.

“South Carolinians have been given all available information about the vaccine and that is all they need in order to make this decision,” McMaster’s spokesman, Brian Symmes said.

Symmes said the governor believes enticing people to take the vaccine “with the lure of a lottery jackpot is irresponsible and a poor use of taxpayer dollars.”

The remarks came after one of the state’s top Democratic lawmakers called for a program similar to one in Ohio that would offer prizes to people who get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, suggested using some of the state’s COVID-19 relief money to offer $1 million prizes to those who are vaccinated. He said that could get South Carolina out of the bottom 10 in vaccination rates.

State senators considered more modest incentives during last month’s budget debate, including a $250 scholarship to college students who get the vaccine or $100 to the first 500,000 people to receive the COVID-19 shot. But that plan failed with minimal Republican support.

Ohio’s Vax-a-Million vaccination program awarded the first $1 million prize and the first full-ride college scholarship earlier this week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 40.6% of all South Carolinians have received at least one vaccine dose.

The CDC says 33.4% of South Carolina residents are considered fully vaccinated.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, meanwhile, says that as of Wednesday, 36.4% percent of all South Carolina residents are completely vaccinated.

Health experts say you are fully vaccinated two weeks after you receive your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after you receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.