How will you know if you've won $50,000 or one of the $1.5 million grand prizes in California's vaccine lottery drawings? State health officials are going to try to call you on the phone, so you may want to answer unknown calls on your cell for the next couple of weeks.
Friday morning marked the first of three lottery drawings in California's vaccine-incentive program, Vax For the Win, and Governor Gavin Newsom made like a game show host for the televised affair. In today's drawing, no names were given — Newsom drew numbers from a lottery ball machine and people were selected based numeric indicators attached to their names in the state's vaccination registry. Everyone was automatically entered to win prizes when they received their vaccines.
Today's 15 winners were identified publicly only by their county of residence, and there were six from the Bay Area, including two in San Francisco. The winners hailed from Mendocino, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Alameda, San Diego, San Francisco, Orange, and San Luis Obispo counties — so the Central Valley, where perhaps more incentive is needed to get vaccines, was left out so far.
You can watch the drawing, and Gavin's full explanation, in the video below if you have some time to spare.
Each winner today will receive $50,000, before taxes, once they've completed their second shot — and if a winner isn't eligible or can't be reached, their prize moves on to one of 35 backups who were also drawn. Winners are now being informed via phone — so WATCH YOUR PHONES!
As the Sacramento Bee explained this week, officials will do their best to contact winners by phone, text, or email, depending on what information they provided when they received their vaccines. If they can't reach the person within 96 hours, another name will likely be selected, and that cash money will end up going to someone else.
The next drawing of $50,000 prizes will be next Friday, June 11. Then, on the big California Reopening Day of June 15, Newsom will draw 10 more numbers/names, and each of those big winners will receive $1.5 million apiece.
Anyone who hasn't yet gotten a vaccine shot has until then to get one and become eligible to win.
In total, the state is giving out $116.5 million in cash and prizes — including pre-paid debit cards and grocery cards to people getting newly vaccinated — in an effort to boost immunity to COVID around the state. Currently, 70% of Californians have received at least one vaccine shot.