California Picks First 15 ‘Vax for the Win’ $50,000 Winners

California Picks First 15 'Vax for the Win' $50,000 Winners California Picks First 15 'Vax for the Win' $50,000 Winners California Gov. Gavin Newsom, State Sen. Richard Pan, left, and UC Davis Assistant Nurse Manager Claudio Alvarado, center, hold a mock check as the state drew the first 15 winners to be awarded $50,000 for getting vaccinated against COVID-19. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP)

By Charles Kim | Friday, 04 June 2021 10:24 PM

Fifteen California residents will add $50,000 to their bank accounts for getting at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday drew the first 15 winners of the $50,000 prize for getting vaccinated as part of the state’s $116.5 million “Vax for the Win” program, according to a press release from Newsom’s office Friday.

“California has made incredible progress in the fight against COVID-19, with the lowest case rates in the entire country and millions more vaccines administered than any other state,” Newsom said.

“But we aren’t stopping there, we’re doing everything it takes to get Californians vaccinated as we approach June 15 to help us safely reopen and bring the state roaring back.”

The $750,000 total awarded Friday is in addition to $50 incentive cards for roughly 350,000 Californians that have taken at least one shot of the vaccine.

Dubbed “the largest vaccine incentive program in the nation” by the state, the program is designed to help get residents vaccinated for the state’s planned reopening from the pandemic on June 15.

California said it has administered a total of 38 million vaccines, eighth in the world.

“We are making another push to get more Californians vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “With more than 70 percent of adults having already received at least one dose, the Vax for the Win program is the creative approach we need to make that final push for those who remain unvaccinated.”

California joins a growing list of states offering vaccine incentives, including $1 million cash prizes, trucks, guns, and free beer.

Nearly 64 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of the three vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just a single dose.

President Joe Biden recently said his administration is partnering with several private businesses to offer incentives for getting the shot.

Health experts claim that vaccinating between 70-80 percent of the population will outpace the community spread of the virus.