California Announces $116.5 Million in Prize Money From COVID-19 Relief Funds for People Who Get Vaccinated

May 28, 2021 Updated: May 31, 2021

California is giving away prize money totaling $116.5 million to encourage state residents to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on May 27.

Residents who are already vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, will be automatically enrolled in the incentive program set to start in June, called “Vax for the Win,” the Democratic governor said.

“We’re putting aside more resources than any other state in America, and we’re making available the largest prizes of any state in America for those that seek to get vaccinated,” Newsom said, according to The Associated Press.

Ten people will be announced as winners of $1.5 million each on June 15, while another 30 Californians will win $50,000 on June 4 and June 11; in addition, 2 million newly vaccinated residents are automatically eligible to receive a $50 prepaid grocery card.

Newsom said that Californians aged 12 and above are automatically eligible for the cash prizes. Winners under the age of 18 will have their winnings placed in a savings account, the governor said.

“Some Californians weren’t ready to get their COVID-19 vaccine on day one, and that’s okay. This program is designed to encourage those who need extra support to get vaccinated and help keep California safe,” said Tomás J. Aragón, the state’s top health official.

Epoch Times Photo
A 13-year-old watches a nurse injects him with a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Freeport, N.Y., on May 14, 2021. (Mary Altaffer/AP Photo)

“The State will work closely with our partners at local health departments and community-based organizations to ensure the program reaches families living in communities with the lowest vaccination rates, who might face language barriers and other obstacles,” he added.

It marks the nation’s largest COVID-19 vaccine incentive program to date.

Last week, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced that five randomly selected Coloradans above the age of 18 who have received at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of June will be selected to win $1 million each, while younger Coloradans will have the chance to participate in a scholarship program.

In Ohio, health officials said the COVID-19 vaccination rate surged after Gov. Mike DeWine said five residents will win $1 million each as a monetary incentive for getting inoculated.

New York and Maryland on May 20 also announced that they will be rolling out similar vaccine incentive programs.

“Getting every eligible Californian vaccinated is how we bring our state roaring back from this pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement. “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. But we aren’t stopping there, we’re doing everything it takes to get Californians vaccinated as we approach June 15 to help us fully reopen safely.”

A spokeswoman for Newsom’s office told The Associated Press that the program will come from the state’s disaster response account, which will be reimbursed by federal pandemic relief funds.