LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. (KGET) — Vaccinated California residents have been automatically entered in to win up to $1.5 million, according to an announcement Governor Gavin Newsom made Thursday to get more people vaccinated in the state.
As California sees a slowdown in people wanting the vaccine, Governor Newsom’s administration is hoping this will help pick up the pace.
“The most significant incentive program in the United States of America,” Governor Newsom said as he rolled out the new Vax for the Win program. “We’re putting aside more resources than any other state in America and we’re making available the largest prizes than any state in America.”
The next 2 million people to get fully vaccinated will get $50 virtual prepaid gift cards or grocery cards and an entry into a drawing for big cash prizes.
The state automatically entered every vaccinated resident in the state 12 years and up into the drawing, regardless of immigration status.
Ten people will be picked to win $1.5 million each June 15. Thirty will be picked to win $50,000 each, with drawings June 4 and June 11.
The California Department of Public Health will notify winners on the drawing dates. Winners can remain anonymous.
The announcement comes as half of California’s population is fully vaccinated.
The state is hoping to get as many people inoculated as possible ahead of its full economic reopening June 15.
“This is all in an effort to incentivize and build momentum and put a date with some expectation that by June 15, we’ll move north of that 70% threshold for adults,” Newsom said.
Likely facing a recall election later this year, the governor’s opponents pounced on the announcement Thursday.
Republican candidate John Cox tweeted in part, “Newsom is spending over $100 million to buy votes before the recall.”
Newsom said his administration is putting together even more incentives for vaccinated Californians after June 15. He was not ready to say what those are just yet.
Other states have offered freebies or lottery tickets as incentives. In Ohio, five adults will win $1 million each over five weeks, while vaccinated kids aged 12 to 17 have the chance at five four-year scholarships with all expenses paid to an Ohio university. The first winner in that lottery was announced Wednesday evening.