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Newsom announces $116.5 million incentive program to help boost COVID-19 vaccinations

California to give US$116.5 mil in prizes for vaccinations

Ten people will win 1.5 million each, and 30 winners will get $50,000. The winners of the million-dollar jackpot and the fifty thousand dollar prizes will be chosen on June 15th. Nearly 63% of Californians aged 12 and older have received a vaccine dose, and case rates are now the lowest in the nation, Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday. The announcement of those winners will be evenly split across June 4 and June 11.

Anyone who's received at least one shot of a vaccine already has been automatically entered via the state's immunology registry - and, yes, that exists, and the state already knows if you've been vaccinated. For minors who win, the cash will be put in a savings account for them until they turn 18. State figures show 40 per cent of white Californians are not vaccinated.

Winners must complete their vaccination in order to claim their prize.

Newsom, a Democrat facing a likely recall election this year, said the money for California's program will be well-spent if it convinces reluctant residents to get vaccinated.

The goal is to motivate roughly 12 million people who are eligible but not yet vaccinated, though the more than 20 million Californians already partially or fully vaccinated also are in the running for the most valuable prizes.

Following the lead of states including New York, Oregon and OH, the Golden State State is the latest to implement an incentive system to boost vaccinations and ensure a safe reopening, which is scheduled for June 15.

"These are real incentives", Newsom said during a press briefing Thursday announcing the program.

In an interview with "Good Morning America's" Zohreen Shah earlier this week, Newsom teased the contest. And in the last week, the number of residents receiving their first dose of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has plunged, Newsom said. "We were waiting for that first dose drop-off to then pull the trigger".

The state estimates about 12 million Californians 12 and older have not been vaccinated.

Also, he warned, "Don't go back and get vaccinated again".

"These types of strategies don't work in sometimes our lower-income, minority populations where we intend them to work if we don't at the same time lower those barriers - whether it's digital or transportation or language", Bibbins-Domingo said. "We've got to finish the job".

California health officials are offering a combined $116 million worth of incentives for state residents to get vaccinated, according to an announcement Thursday. California has already made incredible progress in the fight against COVID-19, with the lowest case rates in the country while administering millions more vaccines than any other state.

Maryland drew a victor for its first $40,000 vaccine lottery prize Tuesday, kicking off 40 days of drawings. The state is home to almost 40 million people.