SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The first drawing in California's vaccine lottery took place on Friday: if you've been vaccinated, then you're eligible.
Speaking in front of a backdrop that looked like the Wheel of Fortune, Gov. Gavin Newsom explained how the "Vax for the Win" lottery works.
"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," he 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."
Fifteen people who received at least one dose of the COVID shot were randomly picked today to win $50,000 prizes. Another drawing will be held next Friday.
Newsom and others drew the winners from these counties: Three people from Los Angeles, three from San Diego, three from Santa Clara, two from San Francisco, and one each from Orange, San Luis Obispo, Mendocino and Alameda.
The people selected will win $50,000 dollars in cash. They were not identified by name, only a number related to their vaccination records.
The state has a database for all vaccination records and the state Department of Health will contact winners by telephone, text, email or other contact information associated with the person’s record in the state’s vaccine registry.
California is one of several states trying to incentivize people still reluctant to get the COVID vaccine - with money.
On June 15, when the state fully reopens, 10 people who've already had their vaccines will be selected to win $1.5 million each.
The first 2 million people to get shots on, or after May 27, will automatically receive $50 gift cards.
The goal of all of this is to give people financial incentives to get their COVID vaccine.
Since Vax for the Win launched, roughly one million vaccine doses have been recorded, including roughly 350,000 Californians newly starting their vaccination process, according to Newsom's office.
In total, California has administered more than 38 million vaccines, ranked number 8 in the world. California has administered 15.4 million more doses than any other state and more than 70% of the adult population has received at least one dose.
But there is skepticism about how well the plan will work.
Since this vaccine lottery system was announced - there has been a 20% drop in the number of people who went out and got their shots.
Newsom is chalking it up to the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
California's "Vax for the Win" program is the largest in the nation. The state's set aside $116 million dollars for the prizes and incentives.
The state is working with community organizations, to let people know about all the clinics and different places they can get their COVID vaccine.
Winners must complete their vaccination in order to claim their prize. If someone under 18 wins, the cash will be put in a savings account for them until they turn 18. For more information about Vax for the Win, please visit https://covid19.ca.gov/vax-for-the-win.