Four Southern Californians are among the first winners in the state’s Vax for the Win lottery after a game show-like drawing Friday, complete with a spinning wheel, lottery balls and sparkly gold curtains.
Fifteen winners announced in the drawing at the state's lottery headquarters will receive $50,000 as part of the vaccination incentive program. The winners were picked from among 21.5 million eligible California residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine prior to the drawing.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and that’s really the spirit that brings us here today,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
The winners will need to receive their second dose to actually received the money.
Newsom hosted the event, standing in front of a Wheel of Fortune-style multi-color spinning wheel, gold curtain and a machine used to randomly draw winners.
Three Los Angeles County residents and one person from Orange County were among the winners.
The pool of 21.5 million eligible residents was initially randomly pared down to 200, then winnowed to 50. The final selection was done using a Bingo-style machine, with 50 numbered balls dropping into the twirling cylinder from which the 15 winners were chosen.
State Sen. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and vaccine advocate, and Claudio Alvarado, a pediatric emergency nurse at UC Davis Medical Center, helped Newsom draw the first winners.
California COVID-19 Vaccinations
The map tracks the number of doses administered by a recipient's county of residence according to the The California Department of Public Health.
None of the winners were identified by name, only by county, in order to maintain privacy. Winners will be contacted by telephone. If any of the 15 chosen winners turn out to be ineligible -- such as being employed by the governor's office or incarcerated -- alternate winners will be chosen from those remaining in Friday's pool of 50 finalists.
Winners will remain anonymous unless they give the state permission to share their names. They have 96 hours to claims their prizes.
The state will contact winners -- so watch your phone.
Newsom, who is facing a recall election likely later this year, announced the “Vax for the Win'' incentive program last week. The $116.5 million program will dole out $50,000 prizes to another 15 people next Friday, and on June 15 -- the day the state lifts the bulk of its COVID-19 restrictions -- 10 winners will be chosen to receive $1.5 million each.
Newsom said Friday more than 38.6 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 52% of the state's population now considered fully vaccinated. More than 70% of the state's adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine, he said.