Top South Carolina Democrat wants $1M vaccine lottery prize

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THORNTON, CO – MARCH 06: Used vials of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the newest vaccine approved by the U.S. FDA for emergency use, sit in a box at an event put on by the Thornton Fire Department on March 6, 2021 in Thornton, Colorado. Colorado entered COVID-19 vaccination Phase 1B.3 on Friday, allowing essential grocery and agriculture workers, people over the age of 60 and people with two or more high-risk conditions to receive a vaccine. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — One of South Carolina’s top Democratic lawmakers wants the state to use some of its COVID-19 relief money to offer $1 million prizes to people who get vaccinated for the disease.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford says the prizes would be similar to a program in Ohio. The Columbia Democrat says that type of program might get South Carolina out of the bottom 10 in vaccination rates.

Just 36% of residents are fully vaccinated. South Carolina senators considered more modest incentives during last month’s budget debate, including a $250 scholarship to college students who get vaccinate or $100 for the first 500,000 people to get the COVID-19 shot. They failed with minimal Republican support.

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