California has become the latest US state to offer big prizes in an effort to ‘motivate’ people to receive a coronavirus vaccination.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced on Thursday that the state will be offering $1.5 million cash prizes to “10 lucky Californians” who become vaccinated against virus.
Breitbart reports: California joined Ohio and other jurisdictions that are awarding cash prizes and other incentive for people to take the coronavirus vaccine.
Both states are experiencing very low rates of new infections at the moment, but officials want to reach herd immunity.
In a statement, Gov. Gavin Newsom described the new prizes (original emphasis):
More than 62.8 percent of Californians aged 12+ are at least partially vaccinated, but an estimated 12 million people who are eligible still have not gotten a vaccine to protect their health and the well-being of their communities.
All Californians aged 12+ who are at least partially vaccinated are automatically eligible for the cash prize drawings taking place in June. Thirty winners in total will be selected for the “$50,000 Fridays” cash prize drawings on June 4 and June 11, totaling $1.5 million. On June 15, $1.5 million will be awarded to 10 lucky Californians – for a grand total of $15 million in cash prizes. Winners must complete their vaccination in order to claim their prize. If someone under 18 wins, the cash will be put in a savings account for them until they turn 18.
Beginning on May 27, the next two million people who begin and complete their COVID-19 vaccination will automatically be eligible to receive a $50 prepaid or grocery card, worth a total of $100 million. It gives them the option to select from a $50 Virtual Prepaid Card (which can be spent online, in-store where major debit cards are accepted, or added to a mobile wallet to be used to shop in stores that accept mobile wallets), or a $50 grocery gift card from Kroger (which includes Ralphs, Food 4 Less and Foods Co.) or Albertsons (which includes Safeway, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Andronico’s Community Markets), while supplies last. Californians will receive a text message with an electronic prepaid card redemption code sent to their mobile phone or email address 7-10 days after their two-dose series of Pfizer or Moderna, or single dose of Johnson and Johnson. An incentive card will be held for those who start their vaccination at the launch of the program.
In Ohio, a 22-year-old woman became the first of five $1 million winners in the state’s vaccination lottery; she was already vaccinated when the contest began.
Los Angeles is offering a chance to win season tickets to the Kings (hockey) and Galaxy (soccer).
The lotteries have raised questions about how states and cities are spending federal stimulus funds, which had few restrictions — except for the provision that they not be used to offset tax cuts, a provision that is being challenged in court.