Covid-19 Lotteries Have Regional Variants, Too

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One of the mysteries of the Covid-19 pandemic is that, with billions of people in the developing world waiting for vaccines, many in rich countries have only been lured to take them by cash prizes. Even the inducements’ value show major regional variation.

In Hong Kong, where doses are in danger of expiring, the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, which is associated with property developer Sino Group, offered a drawing for a new apartment worth about $1.5 million for a lucky vaccine recipient. California two weeks ago awarded 10 people the same amount in its “Vax for the Win” drawing. And the state of Ohio’s “Vax-a-Million” program offered smaller but still substantial $1 million prizes.

Translated into local buying power, Ohio’s reward actually is the most generous for what it will get you in a central business district. One of the few residential listings in the $1 million range in Cleveland, a three-bedroom, five-bathroom condominium, comes to $221 a square foot. A typical $1.5 million listing in San Francisco has two bedrooms and is a much pricier $1,287 a square foot. The one in Hong Kong has a single bedroom and is a whopping $3,340 a square foot.

Of course those are just the material rewards—the real prize is keeping yourself and loved ones alive and healthy.

Write to Spencer Jakab at spencer.jakab@wsj.com

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