California today expanded its efforts to encourage more residents to seek COVID-19 vaccinations with a multi-million-dollar incentive program. The “Vax for the Win” program provides cash prizes for unvaccinated Californians to get their first doses, along with prize drawings open to all state residents who are at least partially vaccinated.
The state’s expanded vaccination network managed by Blue Shield of California, along with local health jurisdictions and federally sponsored sites, has enabled nearly two-thirds of Californians aged 12 and older to get at least partial vaccinations. That’s more vaccine doses than any other state, but it still leaves about 12 million eligible state residents who need their first dose. Many of them live in hard-to-reach communities and getting them vaccinated is an important step as the state moves to full reopening on June 15.
“Getting every eligible Californian vaccinated is how we bring our state roaring back from this pandemic,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “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.”
In all, the state will award $116.5 million in prizes through the Vax for the Win program. State and local public health officials will work together to drive awareness of the program in those communities where vaccination rates remain lower or where language or other obstacles exist.
To encourage people to get their shots to protect themselves and their communities, starting today the new program will make the first two million newly vaccinated Californians automatically eligible to receive a $50 prepaid or grocery card.
In addition, the program will conduct three cash-prize drawings in June that’s open to any Californian who has gotten at least their first dose. The first two drawings, on June 4 and June 11, will award $50,000 to each of 30 lucky winners. The final drawing, on June 15, will see 10 winners chosen to receive $1.5 million each. Winners who aren’t fully vaccinated will have to get their second dose before they can claim their prize.
More information about the program is available at COVID19.ca.gov/vax-for-the-win, and Californians who want to schedule an appointment can visit MyTurn.ca.gov or call the CA COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-422-4255.