California Gov. Gavin Newsom adjusts his face mask at a news conference at the Esteban E. Torres High School in Los Angeles, Thursday, May 27, 2021, before announcing a massive jackpot as the nation’s most populous state looks to encourage millions of people who are still unvaccinated to get their shots. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
UPDATED 8:23 AM PT – Friday, May 28, 2021
In a desperate attempt to get Californians vaccinated, Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the largest vaccine lottery in the nation. During a press conference on Thursday, Newsom said the Golden State will give away over $116 million in prize money as officials prepare to reopen the state next month.
Residents over the age of 12 who are either fully vaccinated or have received at least one shot will be entered into the drawings automatically. Thirty people will win $50,000 each with drawings starting on June 4. Then on June 15, ten people will win $1.5 million each.
“The state of California will be conducting a drawing, everybody that has been vaccinated in the state of California will have their name put into this drawing,” Newsom explained. “They’re all eligible and all of those of you before those dates that get vaccinated.”
The Democrat said this money comes from a disaster relief fund that will be reimbursed by the Biden administration. Critics have said using millions of taxpayer dollars to lull people into getting free COVID-19 shots is wasteful spending.
Newsom claimed residents will pay a higher price if he reignites his costly school closures and what he described as “business interruptions.” The Democrat then clarified that illegal immigrants will also be eligible for the taxpayer funded prize.
Moving forward, Newsome said the state’s ‘Get Out the Vaccination’ program will share details of the prize money with vulnerable communities. This is a team of at least 2,000 political field organizers and medical students who encourage their peers to get vaccinated. They claimed they are using so-called “emerging behavioral science” and “personal contact” to “create an echo chamber” that “organizes communities to get the vaccine.”
Newsom then highlighted the progress other states are making in their fight against COVID-19. He said more vaccine reward programs are coming, but warned it will be done in “our own California way.”
Emergency Medical Technician Seth Walley, right, welcomes mother Guadalupe Cornejo, second from left, with daughters, Guadalupe Flores,15, right, and Estela Flores, 13, left, from East Los Angeles before they get vaccinated with the Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at the Esteban E. Torres High School in Los Angeles Thursday, May 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)