California announces 1st winners of $50,000 prizes from ‘Vax for the Win’ lottery

California

UPDATE: San Diego County had three winners in the first drawing. Updates here.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to draw the first winners of the state’s $116.5 million vaccination lottery around 10 a.m. Friday.

The winners will be the first 15 of 30 to get $50,000 each from the state’s “Vax for the Win” COVID-19 vaccine incentive program being touted as the biggest in the country.

Any California resident age 12 and older who got at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot is automatically entered to win the cash prizes — regardless of their immigration status.

The next batch of 15 winners to get $50,000 will be announced next Friday, June 11.

On June 15 — the day the state expects to lift most of its COVID-19 restrictions — 10 vaccinated Californians will be awarded $1.5 million each.

Officials said winners will be identified by an anonymous number and the county they live in, then the state will reach out to winners and request their approval to share their information publicly.

Prize money will be paid after the winner completes their COVID-19 vaccination series.

Winners will be notified by phone by the California Department of Public Health. If the agency can’t immediately reach them, it will keep trying via telephone, text, email or other contact information associated with the person’s record in the state’s vaccine registry.

But if they can’t reach the winner for 96 hours after the first try, the prize will go to someone else, according to state officials.

During the drawing, alternates will also be selected in case winners decline the prizes, are ineligible for the prizes or can’t be reached.

Not eligible are incarcerated people and employees of CDPH, the California State Lottery, California Health and Human Services and other government workers, as well as their immediate families.

The vaccine incentive program was also giving out $50 prepaid or grocery cards to the first 2 million Californians who got the jab starting on May 27.

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