Maryland to offer lottery prizes for COVID-19 vaccinations

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Any Maryland resident at least 18 years old who gets vaccinated against COVID-19 will be eligible for a daily lottery drawing to win $40,000, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Thursday.

The promotion is aimed at raising awareness to increase the number of Marylanders who are vaccinated for COVID-19. Hogan said nearly 70 percent of the state has received at least one shot. 

Under the VaxCash promotion, one $40,000 winner will be randomly selected every day for 40 consecutive days beginning May 25. A July 4 drawing at the conclusion of the promotion will have a $400,000 grand prize.

All Maryland residents who have received a COVID-19 vaccine administered in Maryland at any time are automatically eligible, as well as people who are newly vaccinated. The earlier in the promotion a person gets vaccinated, the more opportunities they have to win. 

According to Maryland Lottery Director Gordon Medenica, the promotion is a partnership with the Department of Health, which will randomly assign a number to each person vaccinated. 

The Maryland Lottery will use a random number generator to draw a winning number each day from within the range provided by the Maryland Department of Health. The Maryland Department of Health will then make the initial contact with winners.

Maryland is the third state to announce a lottery incentive as a way to try to get more people to get vaccinated. States are entering a difficult phase of their vaccine rollout programs in which they are tasked with getting vaccine-hesitant individuals to receive the shot.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced last week that the state will give away millions of dollars in federal funds through a lottery for people who have received the vaccine. The state has already seen a boost in its vaccination rate.

Earlier Thursday, New York announced a program to give a free New York Lottery scratch-off ticket for the Mega Multiplier Lottery to people who get vaccinated at select sites across the state. 

Hogan said that unlike Ohio, Maryland is entering into the lottery promotion with a much higher vaccination rate.  

“For them, it was sort of a ‘Hail Mary’ touchdown pass to try to get their numbers up. For us, we’re sort of cleaning up and we’re getting close to the goal line. We think this is going to push us over the edge,” Hogan said. “Maybe it’ll just get people to pay more attention and finally go out and get vaccinated, so we can finish.”

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccines Maryland Mike DeWine vaccine incentives

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