Newsom announces $116.5 million incentive program to help boost COVID-19 vaccinations

Elias Hubbard
May 28, 2021

Ten people will win 1.5 million each, and 30 winners will get $50,000. Then, on June 15, the day the state is scheduled to fully reopen, there will be a third drawing in which 10 people will be selected to each receive $1.5 million. Almost half of people in the least advantaged neighborhoods still haven't been vaccinated, according to the state. These winners will be selected by June 15.

Both contests are open to residents ages 12 and up with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. If someone under 18 wins, the cash will be put in a savings account for them until they turn 18.

Abbigail Bugenske, 22, from Cincinnati, won Ohio's first $1 million Vax-a-Million vaccination incentive prize, on Thursday.

The state is also offering incentives to newly vaccinated residents. And the next 2 million people who get vaccinated will get $50 gift cards.

California's reopening is pegged for June 15, and on that day a drawing will be held to award 10 vaccinated people the top prize.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the new program called "Vax for the Win" on Thursday. And in the last week, the number of residents receiving their first dose of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has plunged, Newsom said.

By contrast, less than a quarter of people in the most advantaged areas haven't been vaccinated. Half of the state's population is fully vaccinated.

"It's our biggest "thank you" yet to Californians who have received their COVID-19 vaccine", the program's website reads.

Still an estimated 12 million Californians who are eligible still haven't received a single shot.

"You don't have to register to do this as is the case in other states", Newsom said in comments today.

"We've got to get those first-dose numbers up", Newsom said at a press conference in Los Angeles.

"We can't afford to run the 90-yard dash", he said. "We've got to finish the job".

California officials who have spent months urging residents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus now hope US$116.5 million in prizes will sweeten the deal.

Across the United States, states and private organizations have offered incentives to persuade people to become inoculated against COVID-19, which has killed almost 3.7 million people worldwide. Since announcing its lottery, the state has seen a dramatic increase in vaccination rates. Public health officials in IN and NY state have handed out Girl Scout cookies at vaccination sites.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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