California Gov. Gavin Newsum launched the state’s Covid-19 vaccine lottery on Friday, drawing the first batch of $ 50,000 winners live.
“There are real winners here,” the governor said, standing in front of the lottery wheel, the ball machine and the gleaming golden llama curtain at the lottery headquarters in California.
The 15 Vax for the Win recipients were withdrawn from the anonymous state registry of more than 21 million Californians – 70 percent of adults – who received at least one dose of Covid-1
They were publicly identified only by county and registration number; state privacy laws prohibit the release of any names without permission from the winner. Registration is automatic through the state immunization database.
The winners came mostly from urban and coastal settlements, reflecting the country’s continuing problems with vaccine fluctuations in rural and more conservative areas.
The governor was assisted by State Senator Richard Pan, a pediatrician who led the tightening of vaccine rules in 2015, and Claudio Alvarado, a pediatric nurse at the University of California, Davis Medical Center.
“She’s spinning!” said Mr. Pan, a Democrat from Sacramento, as he reached into the ball machine.
A second batch of 15 names will be drawn next Friday for another set of $ 50,000 cash prizes, and the last group of 10 big prizes – $ 1.5 million in cash – will be drawn on June 15 – the governor said the state would lifted most of the pandemic health restrictions on that date, but noted on Friday that until the virus is “extinguished,” it will not completely remove the emergency declaration that underpins most of its pandemic policies.
The $ 116.5 million lottery, provided by the California General Fund and the federal dollar to alleviate the pandemic, is the largest vaccine promotion program in the country to date. An increasing number of cash handouts have been initiated by states since Ohio began offering $ 1 million in prizes and four-year college scholarships in May.
Washington, Oregon and Colorado, among others, offer jackpots for $ 1 million, and New Mexico – $ 5 million. This week, the governor of West Virginia announced a $ 1.6 million grand prize, saying that if residents can’t get vaccines for themselves, they should do so for his bulldog, Babydog.
U.S. efforts are part of greater pressure from the Biden administration to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the country by President Biden’s self-imposed 4 deadline. Mr. Biden is running an aggressive campaign that includes incentives such as free Super Bowl tickets and Major League baseball games, free travel sharing and childcare for those who go to vaccine meetings, free plane tickets and free adult beer. on Independence Day – if the nation fulfills its goal.
Vaccine prize draws in California offer a odds of about 1 in 2 million for prizes of $ 1.5 million, significantly better than the odds of 1 in 11.7 million to win $ 1 million in Powerball.
Mr Newsom, who is facing a Republican-led campaign to recall him, was asked by reporters on Friday if the seizure had affected his pandemic policy. The governor replied that “every decision I have made is in line with the work I have done for decades and what I have campaigned for.”