California Introduces Its Own Covid Vaccine Lottery

The state became the latest to offer big prizes in an effort to motivate people to receive a coronavirus vaccination.,


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California will give away $116.5 million to vaccinated residents.

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, left, at a vaccination center in Los Angeles on Thursday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, left, at a vaccination center in Los Angeles on Thursday.Credit…Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press
  • May 28, 2021, 5:34 a.m. ET

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Thursday announced a $116.5 million giveaway to residents who receive a coronavirus vaccination, the latest and largest such effort among U.S. states seeking to motivate people to get a shot.

Under California’s incentive program, called Vax for the Win, 10 Californians who have had at least one dose of a vaccine will receive $1.5 million each. In addition, 30 people will be awarded $50,000 each, and two million people will receive $50 gift cards.

“Getting every eligible Californian vaccinated is how we bring our state roaring back from this pandemic,” Mr. Newsom said.

Fifty-six percent of California’s population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 42 percent has been fully vaccinated. Both percentages are above the national average, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

California’s move comes after Ohio awarded the first $1 million lottery prize in its own vaccine incentive program this week, to Abbigail Bugenske, a 22-year-old from Cincinnati.

“I would encourage anyone to get the vaccine,” Ms. Bugenske said. “If winning a million dollars isn’t incentive enough, I don’t really know what would be.”

Among other states offering big prizes to those who have been vaccinated, Colorado announced its own $1 million lottery this week, and Oregon is offering a $1 million jackpot, in addition to $10,000 prizes.

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