Vaccinations slow despite Vax Giveaway

DESPITE THE LURE of millions of dollars in prize money with the Massachusetts Vax Millions Giveaway, the number of people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in Massachusetts keeps dropping.

In the most recent weekly count ending July 6, the number fell to 7,957 a day, down from 12,126 a day the week before and 15,859 the week before that, just after Gov. Charlie Baker announced the lottery on June 15.

The most recent week included the July 4 holiday, when vaccinations plummeted, so there is still hope the incentive can pick up some steam before the first drawing on July 26. Still, the slow pace is concerning since it takes time to get the two-dose vaccines; anyone just starting the Moderna vaccine has already missed qualifying for the first three prize drawings and Pfizer recipients have already missed the deadline for two of the drawings. The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be obtained any time before a drawing.

Prizes of $1 million will be given away each week starting July 26 and ending on August 23. The Giveaway also offers $300,000 in scholarship money each week to anyone in the 12-17 age category.

The Vax Millions Giveaway is free to join for anyone who has been vaccinated. The odds of winning one of the prizes are better than with most Massachusetts Lottery games, but it’s unclear whether the mere chance of winning big will be enough to incentivize people who have been reluctant to get vaccinated to go ahead and get the shot.

To win $1 million in one of the state’s Lottery games, the odds range from one in 5 million for some scratch ticket games to one in 13 million for Mega Millions. The precise odds for the Vax Millions game depend on how many people sign up, but even if everyone eligible signs up the odds of winning a $1 million prize will be about one in just over 4 million. The odds are much better for winning the scholarships because much fewer people in the 12-17 age category have been vaccinated. 

In a radio interview last Tuesday, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who oversees the state Lottery and the Giveaway, said 1.8 million people had signed up for the Giveaway, including about 80,000 in the 12-17 age category. “These odds are really good right now,” Goldberg told Bloomberg Radio.




Shuttered Venue Operators Grants: Long-awaited federal arts funding is finally arriving, and Massachusetts so far is one of the top recipients, with its haul of $100 million the seventh highest amount of any state. The Boston Symphony Orchestra received the maximum grant of $10 million and 122 other big and small arts venues have received lesser amounts. The grants are welcome news to many organizations, but they have been a long time coming. The program was approved by Congress last year. Read more.

Q&A with David Guarino: The public relations professional launches a nonprofit called Survivors Say, which will provide free communications services to victims of high-profile tragedies. Read more.

Baker wish list: The governor added $100 million for offshore wind port infrastructure to his $2 billion-plus list of projects he would like to fund with federal aid. Read more.


Insular thinking: Gail Spector says it’s great Newton blocked the opening of a gun store, but she wonders what good it will do in the long run because gun businesses just move along to another suburb. Read more

Social equity: Andrea Cabral, the former Suffolk County sheriff and current CEO of Ascend Massachusetts, offers insight on how to achieve social equity in the marijuana business. Read more.

Henrys taking heat: Lily Huang and Alicia Fleming of Massachusetts Jobs for Justice say John and Linda Pizzuti Henry should respect the Boston Globe workforce instead of bullying it to sign a contract. Read more.

Digital divide: Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts says we need to track the digital divide before we can close it. Read more.

Redistricting: Cheryl Clyburn Crawford of MassVOTE and Beth Huang of the Massachusetts Voter Table say patience and a slight change of plans are needed to redraw election districts this year in the wake of COVID. Read more.





Town officials in Braintree oppose a proposed electronic billboard in Quincy that Braintree residents fear will be visible from their homes. The John Flatley Co., which wants to erect the sign, says it will not be visible from any residential areas of the city. (Patriot Ledger)

Communities are finally opening the door to in-law apartments after years of pushing by advocates who say they can help address the Boston area housing shortage. (Boston Globe


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Massachusetts state courts and Boston City Hall are resuming closer-to-normal operations beginning today and Somerville public buildings will welcome back in-person visitors. (WBUR

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A Springfield meet-and-greet shows that US Sen. Elizabeth Warren is still a star among progressive Democrats. Warren talked about topics including the American Rescue Plan and the need to improve the childcare system. (MassLive)

A Haitian-born, Florida-based physician was arrested in connection with the assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moise. (New York Times


US Rep. Seth Moulton endorses Jared Nicholson for mayor of Lynn. (Daily Item)


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Since November 2019, nearly every item brought to a vote before the Boston School Committee has passed unanimously. (Boston Herald

The North of Boston Media Group editorial board says the state needs to solve the problem of available childcare before policymakers can expect people to return to work.

Local education leaders discuss the theory and controversy behind critical race theory. (Telegram & Gazette)

A group of parents of New England private school students has formed a new group to push for “true diversity of thought” in classrooms, an effort they say is not partisan but which mirrors other groups that have sprung up nationally in response to curriculum instruction viewed as hewing hard to the left on race and other issues. (Boston Globe


Boston Pride is dissolving after years of growing tension with other LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations, including Black Lives Matter. (WBUR


Salem police arrest two men who appear to be tied to a white supremacist group on vandalism charges. (Salem News)

Days of deathbed police interviews conducted of convicted child molester and defrocked Catholic priest Richard Lavigne led to his being charged for murdering an altar boy in 1972. The Springfield Republican’s Stephanie Barry has the tapes, with the inconsistent but fascinating details of Lavigne’s admissions. 

One-time liberal standard bear Michael Dukakis says the defund-the-police movement “is nuts” — but Peter Lucas says today’s woke activists don’t want to hear it. (Boston Herald

Fall River officials say they will seek state funds from a new initiative to equip police departments with body-worn cameras. (Herald News

Lynn is allocating $500,000 to develop an unarmed crisis-response team. (Boston Globe

A California court rules that victims of a San Diego synagogue shooting can proceed with a lawsuit against gunmaker Smith & Wesson. (MassLive)


Enough with all the media doom-and-gloom, says New York Times media columnist Ben Smith, who spotlights five interesting nonprofit journalism ventures that he says hold promise. 


John Saad, an Oxford selectman for 43 years and a fixture in municipal politics, dies at 77. (Telegram & Gazette)