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Free beer? Cash? State and local governments are offering incentives for COVID-19 vaccines

Health care worker Teressa Muse injected Daphne Ginn with a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in East Orange, N.J. New Jersey is offering vaccinated residents a free beer at participating breweries.James Estrin/NYT

A free beer in New Jersey. Cash in Detroit. A free fishing or hunting license in Maine.

In an effort to encourage residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, cities and states across the country are turning to a range of incentives to get people to line up for shots.

The push comes as all Americans 16 and older are now eligible to be vaccinated, a shift from earlier phases of the vaccination rollout when states prioritized higher-risk populations. Now that more people are vaccinated, many states, including Massachusetts, are adjusting their strategies to reach those who aren’t as eager to line up for doses, or those who encounter barriers to access.


During a virtual meeting with President Biden and other governors — including Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker — Maine Governor Janet Mills on Tuesday announced the state is launching an incentive program that offers vaccinated residents perks aimed at getting outdoors.

The initiative, called “Your Shot to Get Outdoors,” offers Maine residents who receive their first COVID-19 vaccine between now and Memorial Day a free fishing or hunting license, L.L.Bean gift card, tickets to a Portland Sea Dogs game, or a race event at the Oxford Plains Speedway.

“These incentives will encourage that outdoor activity while getting more shots in arms as quickly as possible,” Mills said.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that the state will give away $1 million to a vaccinated resident each week for five weeks.

DeWine said that any Ohio adult who has received at least one dose of the vaccine is eligible to win the money. The state plans to pay for the contest with COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government.

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money.’ But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic — when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it — is a life lost to COVID-19,” DeWine said in a tweet announcing the campaign.


Earlier this month, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that any residents 21 and older who get their first vaccine dose in May can get a free beer if they take their vaccination card to a participating brewery, dubbing it the “Shot and a Beer” program.

Connecticut has launched the #CTDrinksOnUs campaign, which allows people who have been vaccinated to get a free drink at a participating restaurant.

In Detroit, people who provide transportation to residents for their shots will be given a $50 prepaid gift card each time they drive someone to a certain vaccination location.

“The goal of the program is to get more Detroiters, particularly those without access to personal transportation, vaccinated by offering the debit card to reimburse each registered Good Neighbor’s time and expenses,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement.

In Louisiana, a public-private partnership is offering a free pound of boiled crawfish for anyone who gets the shot at an event in New Orleans this week.

Then there is cold, hard cash: Maryland is offering $100 to state employees who have been fully vaccinated, according to a statement from Governor Larry Hogan’s office.

Baker said recently that with more than 70 percent of Massachusetts adults having had at least one COVID-19 dose, the state is turning to a more targeted approach, announcing plans to close some of the high-capacity mass vaccination sites, bolster mobile vaccination efforts, and provide walk-in opportunities for shots.


And while Boston and Massachusetts haven’t announced any perks for those who have been vaccinated, some local companies have.

Boston-based Samuel Adams held a contest to send $7 for a beer to the first 10,000 people who posted a photo of their vaccination sticker or bandage to Instagram or Twitter.

Christina Prignano of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.