Health Care

Colorado to launch $1M lottery drawings as vaccine initiative

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The state of Colorado has launched a $5 million lottery to incentivize vaccinations, Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced Tuesday. 

Those who receive a coronavirus vaccine are eligible to win $1 million during five drawings from June to July. 

The initiative, called Colorado Comeback Cash, will include the Colorado Lottery. The lottery will randomly pick the name of a vaccinated adult to win the cash prize for five weeks. The drawings will occur every Wednesday in June and July 2. The winners will be announced on the Friday after the lotteries. 

All Coloradans who have gotten at least one dose and are in the state’s system by midnight the Tuesday before the drawings will automatically be included in the pool.

Officials recommend getting vaccinated “as far in advance of the drawing as possible” because it can take a few days to enter the system.

Participants need to be vaccinated by next Tuesday to qualify for the first drawing. The last day to qualify for the final lottery is June 30.

The Centennial State joins Ohio, Maryland, New York and Oregon in offering lotteries in order to incentivize more residents to get the COVID-19 shot as vaccination numbers have dropped over the last weeks across the country.

“We have seen this kind of drawing work in states like Ohio where they saw a surge in interest from launching their drawing, and we expect that we’ll see the same thing here,” Polis said during a press conference. 

In the days after the lottery was announced in Ohio, the state saw a 28 percent increase in vaccinations among those 16 and older. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said May 14 to 19 saw a 55 percent increase among those aged 20 to 49.

The money for Colorado’s lottery comes from federal funding designated to boost vaccination numbers. The $5 million have otherwise gone to marketing and advertising, Polis said.

The governor said 58.5 percent of Coloradans have gotten at least one dose and 51.5 percent have been fully vaccinated. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will supply the Colorado Lottery with the pool of anonymous participants and contact lottery winners before releasing any of their personal information. 

However, winners cannot accept the prize and remain anonymous. The lottery’s frequently asked questions page says, “In order to be eligible to win, you must agree to the release of your identity to the public. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”

Polis made the announcement after the Treasury Department issued guidance clarifying that federal funds in the American Rescue Plan slated for vaccine incentive programs can be used for lotteries among vaccinated individuals. 

Tags Colorado Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine Jared Polis Lottery Mike DeWine Pandemic Vaccine vaccine incentives

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