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No 'shot for a shot' or vaccine prize in Utah

COVID-19 vaccine Utah
Posted at 4:09 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 18:10:33-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Republican leaders in the Utah State Legislature don't seem inclined to offer any kind of a prize or incentive to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a meeting of the Utah State Legislature's powerful Executive Appropriations Committee on Monday, House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, asked about funding some incentives to encourage vaccinations.

"Is that part of this at all?" he said during a discussion about spending American Rescue Plan Act funding on COVID-19 vaccination needs.

"I do not believe that is contemplated in this allocation," the legislature's fiscal analyst, Jonathan Ball, told him.

When the House Minority Leader pressed him on it, Ball replied: "There’s not much appetite in the legislature for that."

Other states have come up with different ways to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In Ohio, their governor authorized $1 million prizes in a lottery fashion for people who are fully vaccinated. Other states have offered "shot for a shot," giving away free drinks.

Governor Spencer Cox expressed interest in the idea during his weekly news conference on the state's pandemic response. He said he'd like to see Utah offer something to encourage people to get vaccinated, possibly a cash incentive.

But the legislature would be the ones to fund the idea, and the response to one of the top Democrats on Capitol Hill suggested it wasn't going anywhere.

In Utah, lotteries and other forms of gambling are prohibited, including raffles. Drinks are also not given away under state-controlled liquor policy.