NEW YORK — Its slogan is “Hey, you never know,” but as of Monday, the New York Lottery added a new phrase to its marketing efforts — Vax and Scratch.
It’s what the state is promoting through Friday as part of a larger effort by both the city and state to improve drooping vaccination rates.
At the Jacob Javits Center on Monday, people trickled out of the mass vaccination site throughout the day. and every so often, there was a vaccine recipient like Tori O’Neal. He was holding a lottery ticket that vaccination site workers had just given him, after he’d received a shot.
“Why not get vaccinated while I make money?” O’Neal said.
Each scratch-off ticket handed out had a potential payoff anywhere from $20 to $5 million, and the lottery tickets were only one of a variety of incentives unveiled on Monday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was at Jones Beach on Long Island on Monday to announce another.
“If you get a vaccine this week,” the governor said at a news conference, “you’ll get a two-day family pass to any New York State Park.”
His announcement came a couple of hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio, at his daily morning news conference, announced the NYC Vaccine Contest. He said it’s a program in which the city will announce a weekly contest for which people who’ve been newly vaccinated at eligible city sites.
This week, he said, the prize was a staycation at a city hotel.
But the incentives aren’t always what they seem. Monday, few people actually emerged from the Javits Center vaccination site with lottery tickets — since they’re only given to those receiving their first dose.
Darrell Moultrie was one of the people who’d exited Javits without having received a lottery ticket. He explained why he was without.
“They lure you in to get the first shot, [the] first dose,” said Darrell Moultrie, who was vaccinated at the Javits Center but didn’t get a lottery ticket. But he didn’t mind. “I feel good, as long as we can get more people vaccinated.”
Similarly, Charmane Jacob and Lennie Melvin, who had received lottery tickets, said that getting vaccinated was the most important thing. Still, they said, the lottery ticket sweetened the deal.
We asked Melvin if he’d scratch his ticket outside the Javits Center. It wasn’t a winner, sadly for him.
He said that he still felt that he’d made a gain, though, because of the vaccination he’d received.
“I’m vaccinated [now] and I don’t really need to worry,” he told PIX11 News.
Jacob, his partner, agreed. “It’s still a win,” she said, “because you feel safer.”
You can find a list of participating locations here.