California announces $116 million in incentives for COVID-19 vaccination

California health officials are offering a combined $116 million worth of incentives for state residents to get vaccinated, according to an announcement Thursday.

Californians who are already vaccinated against COVID-19 are already entered to win prizes, and newly vaccinated residents will become eligible for drawings. Prizes include ten chances to win a $1.5 million cash lottery prize. 

The cash will be put in a savings account if the winner is under 18.


In addition, every Californian 12 and up who has received a COVID-19 vaccine is eligible for additional cash prize drawings, which will be awarded by the state in $50,000 increments every Friday.

A news release from the governor's office indicated that the next two million Californians who receive their first and second dose, if applicable, of a COVID-19 vaccine beginning Thursday will also be eligible to receive a $50 "prepaid or grocery card," a program valued at $100 million in total.

“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.

"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.

Just over 40 percent of California's total population had received both doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday afternoon. The state is home to nearly 40 million people.


“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," Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomMcCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' Newsom removes his children from basketball camp after it refused to enforce mask policy Warren hits the airwaves for Newsom ahead of recall election MORE (D) said Thursday.

Several states and localities have launched efforts to incentivize vaccination against COVID-19 in recent weeks amid concerns from public health experts that vaccine hesitancy is a major roadblock in the way of the U.S. reaching herd immunity against the virus.

Ohio first began offering cash lottery prizes for vaccines earlier this month, and several other states have followed suit, including New York, Maryland, Oregon and Colorado. West Virginia is offering young adults aged 16-35 savings bonds in an attempt to boost local vaccination rates, while Connecticut officials implemented a measure that paid for a free drink for every vaccinated state resident during the month of May.