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Free Money: California launches 'Vax for the Win' incentive program to get more people vaccinated

The “Vax for the Win” vaccine incentive program is made possible with $116.5 million from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $110 Billion California Comeback Plan.
Credit: AP
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, at podium, announces a massive jackpot as the nation's most populous state looks to encourage millions of people who are still unvaccinated to get their shots at a news conference at the Esteban E. Torres High School in Los Angeles, Thursday, May 27, 2021. California is giving away the country's largest pot of vaccine prize money — $116.5 million — in an attempt to get millions more inoculated before the most populous U.S. state fully reopens next month. Newsom announced the prizes, which also include the nation's highest single vaccine prize: $1.5 million. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California plans to hand out millions of dollars in prizes to residents who have gotten or plan to get their COVID-19 vaccination starting Thursday, May 27.

The “Vax for the Win” vaccine incentive program is made possible with $116.5 million from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $110 Billion California Comeback Plan. Ten people who are at least partially vaccinated will split a $15 million grand prize; 30 people who are at least partially vaccinated will receive $50,000 prizes – handed out Friday, June 4 and Friday, June 11 as part of “$50,000 Friday” – and the next two million vaccinated Californians (starting Thursday, May 27) will receive prizes in the form of a $50 gift card.

All residents age 12 and over who are at least partially vaccinated are automatically eligible for the two June drawings. 

“Getting every eligible Californian vaccinated is how we bring our state roaring back from this pandemic,” Newsom said in a press release about the Vax for the Win program.

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“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,” Newsom added in the release.

The program is designed to “give an extra nudge” to residents who are on the fence about getting vaccinated, program officials said, while also those who have already gotten their COVID shot.

According to the rules and regulations of the program, winners must complete their vaccination in order to claim their prize. Any winners under the age of 18 will have their prize put in a savings account for them until they turn 18.

If you are one of the two million newly-vaccinated winners, you will receive a text message with an electronic prepaid card redemption code sent to your mobile phone or email address 7-10 days after you become fully vaccinated. Officials say an incentive card will be held for those who start their vaccination at the launch of the program. 

Those who do not have a mobile phone or email address can receive a physical card by calling 1-833-993-3873. And residents who do not have a permanent address can also call to coordinate delivery.

Read more from ABC10

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