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Mike Polk Jr. looks at Ohio’s Vax-a-Million

The Vax-a-Million model: Mike Polk Jr. on other ways we can help improve Ohio



Why stop here? I think we should keep this cash-prize-in-exchange-for-desirable-behavior-model going even after the pandemic. It sure seems effective.

CLEVELAND — Well the first Vax-a-Million winner is about to be announced so let me ask ya: Who’s feeling lucky Ohio!?

I know one person who probably does feel lucky right now is the guy behind the program, Mike DeWine or Mike “Big Columbus” DeWine, if you prefer his old-timey riverboat gambler name.   

According to the governor, the Vax-a-Million is already quite successful, with vaccinations surging across the state and across all demographics.

I myself am completely unsurprised. OF COURSE motivating Ohioans using prizes is effective.

Have you ever seen how we react at a Cavs game when they start throwing free t-shirts into the stands? It turns into a rugby scrum. And that’s for an ill-fitting t-shirt that says “Capital One Bank” on it. 

So, yeah, when there’s big bucks on the line we’re gonna get in the mix. 

The question now, I suppose, is what does it say about us as a people and a state that for many Ohioans, this is what it takes to finally get them to take a free, potentially life-saving vaccine to protect themselves and others?

And the answer to that question is… let’s not dwell on it. Let’s just appreciate that it’s apparently working. People are motivated by different things, and if it takes a little outside-the-box thinking and some razzle-dazzle game show tactics to move the needle and make our state a little safer, I’m all for it.

In fact, I’m inspired. Because why stop here? I think we should keep this cash-prize-in-exchange-for-desirable-behavior-model going even after the pandemic. It sure seems effective.

New Sweepstakes after this one: A million dollar prize every month and every adult in Ohio is eligible. Sorry teens, wait your turn.

Now, the only way that you get REMOVED from eligibility is if you are caught during that month engaging in behavior that is detrimental to Ohio society which essentially means “something that annoys me”  

For example, if someone catches you not cleaning up after your dog in public, boom, you’re out of that month’s drawing. See how it works?

  • If you drive in the passing lane at exactly the speed limit, you’re out.
  • If your phone rings in a movie theater and you take the call, you’re out.
  • If you’re an Uber or Lyft Driver and you’re wearing too much cologne, you’re out.
  • If you send a text or email in all Caps, you’re out.
  • If you heat up fish in the office microwave, you’re out.
  • If you’re a vegan….that’s fine. If you’re a vegan and you won’t shut up about it, you’re out.
  • If you tell a woman you don’t know to “smile” you’re out.
  • If you let your kids run wild in a store or restaurant, you’re out! Get them away from me.
  • If you mow your lawn before 10 a.m. on a weekend, you’re out!

(That last one’s specifically for my neighbor Tom. Hey Tom, chill. You’ve got all day! Some of us went out last night.)

Some people are upset about this Vax-a-Million thing. Some call it shameless bribery, some a waste of tax dollars. And they’re entitled to that opinion.

But as I said, different people are motivated by different things. And if the state paying out a million bucks a month to get more people vaccinated or to not write checks in the grocery store checkout line or to clean up their dog’s poop actually works, that seems like a pretty good use of my tax dollars.

Good luck everybody. May Lady Luck smile on you tomorrow.



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