California Puts Up Vaccine Lottery, Offers $116.5 Million Total Prize Money

2 mins read

California officials are the latest to put up a vaccine lottery to encourage residents to get inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine, providing a massive $1.5 million singular cash prize draw to the lucky winner.

On Thursday, California State Governor Gavin Newsom announced the program allowing residents to be eligible for a total prize pool worth $116.5 million. It is one of officials’ biggest attempts at attracting more people to vaccinations before their planned reopening on June 15.

Vaccine Lottery

There will be 10 winners for the vaccine lottery’s top prize and will be chosen on June 15. Next, 30 residents will be chosen to receive $50,000 each, where authorities will begin drawing lots on June 4. Officials said all residents aged 12 or above and who have been at least partially vaccinated will be eligible to receive the prizes.

They also said the next two million people chosen will be given $50 gift cards. Authorities said there is an estimated 12 million California residents who have yet to be vaccinated. They revealed 63% of the 134 million eligible people have been at least partially vaccinated.

This week, Ohio officials announced the first winner of its “Vax-a-Million” lottery contest and the child winner who received a full college scholarship. The program encouraged more than 2.7 million adults to register to be eligible for the prizes.

Similarly, Colorado and Oregon officials used a prize system to get more people to come in for vaccinations. New York is giving out 50 full scholarships to young kids aged 12 to 17, giving them a chance to study at public universities and colleges in the state. Officials will be drawing 10 winners each Wednesday for the next five weeks.

The fact that officials now have to resort to financial prizes to encourage people to get vaccinated is a stark difference from the beginning of the project where residents rushed in line to get inoculated, The Guardian reported.

“Some Californians weren’t ready to get their COVID-19 vaccine on day one, and that’s ok. This program is designed to encourage those who need extra support to get vaccinated and help keep California safe,” the Director of the state’s Department of Public Health, Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, said.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.