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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

Will $5M COVID vaccine incentive work for New York? It did for Ohio

Those who get a COVID-19 vaccine at any of the 10 state's mass vaccination sites between May 24 and 28 will receive a scratch-off lottery ticket.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Incentives to get you vaccinated continue to grow, New York State announced you could win $5 million if you get vaccinated next week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Buffalo on Thursday to announce the state's new Vax and Scratch program.

"You get a vaccination, and you get a lottery ticket for the $5 million Mega Million Multiplier NYS Lottery. Now your scratch ticket has a first prize of $5 million, but a number of prizes that go down to $20," Cuomo said.

Those who get a COVID-19 vaccine at any of the 10 New York State mass vaccination sites across the state between May 24 and May 28 will receive a scratch-off lottery ticket for a chance to win cash prizes. The value of the lottery ticket is $20.

The state mass vaccination site in Western New York is located at the University at Buffalo South Campus.

A similar incentive program was launched in Ohio on May 12, and vaccination numbers soared.

According to Ohio Department of Health data on May 11, 13,137 people got their first shot. On May 14, after the announcement, 31,063 people got shots.

2 On Your Side's sister station WKYC in Cleveland reported Thursday there has been a 53 percent increase in people in Ohio getting first-time shots since the state's Vax-a-Million incentive was announced a week ago.

University at Buffalo's chief of infectious diseases, Dr. Thomas Russo, said incentives are an effective tool to get people vaccinated.

"I am a big fan of incentives. The more people we can get vaccinated the better, and I think there is a large number of people out there that for a variety of trivial reasons are yet to get vaccinated, and incentives such as this will certainly inspire them to greatness," he said.

During his briefing at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Governor Cuomo emphasized that New York's vaccination numbers have plateaued and that he hopes this incentive will boost those numbers.