Mixed reactions across Bay Area after CA unveils new vaccine lottery

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- You don't need a ticket to win the latest jackpot, just a shot.

On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a $116.5 million plan to incentivize more Californians to get the COVID-19 vaccine and reward those who are already vaccinated.

"It's a win-win situation for me," exclaimed Bonnie Ball Mendoza, who got vaccinated at a community clinic in Daly City. She will be automatically entered into California's vaccine lottery.

"It's a wonderful incentive. Imagine you'd be taking care of your health and then you have some money to take care of yourself some more," she said.

RELATED: Newsom unveils $116.5M COVID vaccine incentive plan ahead of state's June 15 reopening

Every Californian, who has received at least one COVID shot is eligible for dozens of cash prizes.

California's COVID vaccine lottery includes:

  • A $15 million cash grand prize, to be split between 10 vaccinated Californians

  • "$50,000 Fridays" cash prizes for 30 vaccinated Californians

  • $100 million in $50 gift cards for the next 2 million new fully vaccinated Californians


The cards are available to state residents who are 12 years old or older and can be spent at any Albertsons or Kroger-operated grocery store. A $50 Mastercard option, which can be spent anywhere, is also available.

Newsom went on to explain how the drawings for so-called "$50,000 Fridays" will be conducted on June 4 and June 11.

RELATED: How can I register for a COVID-19 vaccine in California? Here's how it works in every Bay Area county

"Everybody who has been vaccinated in the state of California will be put into this drawing" -- without having to register -- he said. Winners' names will remain anonymous unless they choose to publicize their windfall," he said.

The $15 million cash grand prize is scheduled to be distributed on June 15, divided among 10 state residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Millbrae resident, Sara French, got her second vaccine Thursday. She appreciates the potential bonus for something she was already doing, but is doubtful cash incentives will motivate those who are hesitant.

"I think that maybe for people who are already going to get the vaccine, they might get it faster, they might take some initiative to do it quicker. People that aren't going to get the vaccine it's not going to help. They already have their reasons they're not going to get the vaccine. I don't think providing money will help that reason," she said.

Miss Ruby Tuesday tweeted ABC7 News reporter, Kate Larsen, and said the incentive does not motivate her to get vaccinated.

"Someone could offer $5 million and the answer is still no," she tweeted in part.

CHEAT SHEET: CDC guidelines on what you can and can't do after being fully vaccinated

ABC7 has also received hundreds of Facebook comments from people who think $116 million on vaccine incentives is a poor use of funds, which Gov. Newsom did address.

"This is about as wise a use of resources as we can identify in terms of a public health emergency that needs to be tackled head-on," said Newsom.

The odds of winning Mega Millions is about 1 in 300 million. The odds of winning California's vaccine lottery are substantially better. With 22 million vaccinated Californians and ten $1.5 million prizes, the odds are about 1 in 2.2 million.

"Hopefully everyone gets vaccinated, even if the odds decrease, it's going to make all of us safer," said Burlingame resident, Kevin Kim.

The governor says don't bother getting vaccinated again to improve your chances of winning. The state knows who has received a shot.

Details are available at covid19.ca.gov/vax-for-the-win.

VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine


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