California launched a lottery with a $116.5 million in prize money to encourage people get vaccinated. It is the largest pot in a series of money-incentive state initiatives.
In California, people who got vaccinated could receive donuts or tacos to be incited to be vaccinated. About 63% of the 34 million eligible Californians got a first shot. The goal is to have 70% of them inoculated before fully reopening fully businesses and ease social distance and mask rules.
But as the pace of vaccination reduces and 12 million Californians eligible are not yet vaccinated, the Governor Gavin Newsom gives a new carrot. He announced a lottery with $116.5 million in prize money, in which 10 Californians 12 or older would win $1.5 million each. If California reaches its 70% goal, that’s one in 2.38 million chances to become a millionaire. The odds are low but still much greater than the one chance in about 300 million to win at the usual U.S. national lottery. The drawing pulled from the immunization registry will be held on June 15, when California is set to be reopening. Immunization registries are a record system used in the United States and present in all 50 States which has been storing vaccine shots way before Covid-19. Another 30 people will win $50,000 each with drawings starting on June 4.
Moreover, from now on, the next 2 million people who get shots will all receive $50 gift cards, which amounts to a $100 million spend, funded by the federal coronavirus relief funds. The fund is the American Rescue Plan of $350 billion approved in emergency funding for the Covid-19 crisis.
Californian lottery is the largest prize pot of the country but other States organized similar initiatives, starting with Ohio.
Ohio announced winners of the Vax-a-Million lottery
A few days earlier California’s lottery, the state of Ohio announced the first winners of the “Vax-a-Million” contest, which offered a $1 million prize to an adult and a full college scholarship to a child. Announced 2 weeks before the drawing, Ohio saw 2.7 million adults and 104,000 children signing up for the contest by phone or via the Vax-a-Million website. The week after the contest was announced, the vaccination rate jumped 33%, although the pace was still lower than in March or April. About 45% of the state had at least started vaccination in Ohio as of May 24. There are 11.8 million people in Ohio and the contest is only open to residents of the state who have received a jab of the one-dose or two-dose vaccines. Four more drawings will provide the same prizes each Wednesday for the next four weeks.
Maryland lottery offers $40,000 every day for 40 consecutive days. And on July 4, the U.S. national day, the 41th drawing will be for $400,000. Everyone who has been vaccinated is automatically entered in the drawing, giving a chance of the early vaccinated, too. Money is coming from the Maryland lottery’s marketing department.
Colorado has a weekly lottery for 5 weeks, with $1 million for each drawing, funded by the federal coronavirus relief funds. This money would have been allocated to advertising budget.
Oregon, which wants 70% of the people vaccinated to fully reopen the state but has only half of the people inoculated in the 4th week of May, planned a $1 million lottery for those who have received a shot by June 27. Each of the 36 counties will also have a $10,000-prize winner. A resident aged 12 to 17 will receive a $100,000 scholarship.
The State of New York provides 50 full scholarships to children aged 12 to 17. And from May 24 to May 28, those who got vaccinated received a scratch lottery ticket with one in nine chances to win prizes from $20 to $5 million.
Media sources and useful links:
- Analysis: Vaccinations jumped 33% after Vax-a-Million news, Associated Press, May 2021, Free access