Officials in California are ramping up efforts to convince hesitant Golden State residents to get vaccinated, offering over $116 million in prizes and incentives.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced the spending spree Thursday, explaining that California is “putting aside more resources than any other state in America” and “making available the largest prizes of any state in America for those that seek to get vaccinated.”
The state is offering general $50 gift cards to the next 2 million people who get vaccinated. Other incentives include a vaccination drawing, which will take place on June 15 — the day the state finally plans to fully reopen.
According to the Associated Press, “On that day, a drawing will be held to award 10 vaccinated people the top prize. Another 30 people will win $50,000 each, with those drawings starting June 4”:
Anyone 12 and older who has received at least one shot will be eligible. The state will use its immunization database to automatically enter people into the drawings, though it’s still exploring how to include those vaccinated at federal facilities, such as veterans hospitals.
Newsom said he hopes to give out all the gift cards by June 15, which would mean 2 million more people are vaccinated.
Money for the prizes will come from the state’s disaster response account, which will be reimbursed by federal coronavirus relief money, said Amelia Matier, a Newsom spokeswoman.
Newsom is far from the only political figure to offer incentives to urge people to get vaccinated. Officials in Texas, for instance, have attempted to sweeten the pot with prizes and incentives as well, including fireworks displays, gift cards, and bobblehead dolls of Houston Astros star Jose Altuve, as Breitbart News detailed.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has also promoted the state’s Vax-a-Million campaign, with the state holding five different drawings, giving vaccinated people the chance to win $1 million.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) May 27 data, over 132 million people in the U.S. are considered “fully vaccinated,” representing 40 percent of the population.