An Open Letter to Maine Governor Janet Mills About the ‘Vaccinationland Sweepstakes’
Dear Governor Mills,
First off, let me assure you that this has nothing to do with politics. I couldn't talk my way out of a political paper bag if my life depended on it.
By now, I'm sure a lot of Mainers have heard your announcement from yesterday, when you introduced the "Don't Miss Your Shot: Vaccinationland Sweepstakes" where by July 4, any Mainer who received at least the first dose of the COVID vaccine would be eligible to win $1 for every Mainer that has also received at least the first dose.
I can't imagine what it's like to be in a position like yours. It must be tough to toe the line between wanting to ensure that all Mainers still and have never lost their freedom to live, but also having to institute actions to make sure that we're all as safe and healthy as possible -- both for our own good, as well as the good of our fellow Mainers.
Part of providing that protection includes encouraging all of us to become fully vaccinated, which has to be one of the hardest things you've done since your initial election as our Governor. Obviously, there are a lot of opinions on the vaccine, with some being fully willing without issue to become vaccinated, while others are still very skeptical, whether it's a microchip thing, a loss of freedom thing, or a fear of side effects thing.
I feel like all the above is understandable -- the unknown is a scary thing. No, we don't know what the long-term effects of the vaccine could be. At the same time, we also don't know what the long-term effects of having and even beating COVID could be, either. But I feel like so far, even without the incentive of the "Vaccinationland Sweepstakes," we've done pretty well.
As of the writing of this letter, you said yourself that over 875,000 Mainers have received at least one dose of the vaccine. NPR.org has us listed as the second state in the country with the most percentage of fully vaccinated people at 58.8%, and the fifth state in the country with the most percentage of people that have received at least one dose, at 65.2%.
That's almost two-thirds of the entire state -- we're pretty much leading the way on fully vaccinated and half-vaccinated citizens in the entire country. We're even crushing states like Ohio in that regard, which has been handing out multiple million-dollar incentives for getting vaccinated.
I won't lie, at first, I thought the need to offer an incentive for people to get vaccinated was a negative thing when Ohio first started doing it. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu made it a point to state that NH would not be offering an incentive for its citizens to become vaccinated, as he believes they shouldn't need an incentive to want to protect themselves and their fellow Granite Staters.
However, we're just about two-thirds of the way to having the entire state being at least half-vaccinated -- I don't think the "Vaccinationland Sweepstakes" (killer name, by the way) is necessarily a bad thing. Especially since it's being offered to those who already received their first dose before the incentive was even a thing.
I just wanted to say, Lady Governor, thank you. Not for offering up what could total over $900,000 by the time July 4 rolls around as an incentive to get at least the first dose of the vaccine, but for doing what you can to get us as close to back to normal as quickly as possible. As I mentioned, this can't be an easy thing or calm water to navigate, but day by day it seems like we're returning to some semblance of regular life, and that's never a bad thing.