California to hand out $116.5 million in prizes for vaccinations

May 27, 2021, 10:28 PM UTC

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

Under the state’s new “Vax for the Win” campaign, launched Thursday, residents 12 years or older who are at least partially vaccinated will be eligible for cash prizes awarded in a series of three drawings.

The first two, on June 4 and June 11, will select a total of 30 winners to receive $50,000 apiece, if they complete their inoculations. In the final drawing, on June 15, 10 residents will win $1.5 million each.

In addition, the next two million residents to start and complete the vaccination process will receive a $50 pre-paid grocery card, good for use at most of California’s major grocery chains.

“Getting every eligible Californian vaccinated is how we bring our state roaring back from this pandemic,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

The campaign take a page from Ohio’s “Vax-a-Million” sweepstakes, which give people who have gotten at least one dose the chance to win $1 million. It comes as the most-populous state plans to fully reopen its economy on June 15, dropping most of its restrictions on social gatherings and business operations.

Almost 63% of Californians aged 12 and older have received a vaccine dose, according to the governor’s office, and case rates are now among the lowest in the nation. Still, an estimated 12 million people who are eligible haven’t received a single shot.

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