SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – The largest COVID-19 vaccine incentive program in the U.S. was underway on Friday as California Gov. Gavin Newsom drew the first set of $50,000 prize winners as part of the state’s “Vax for the Win” program.
“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 Friday. “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.”READ MORE: UPDATE: Cal ISO Extends Flex Alert Into Friday; Bay Area, NorCal Heat Wave May Break Records
At an event held at California Lottery headquarters on Friday, Newsom and other state officials drew the first 15 winners out of the 21 million Californians who received at least one dose of vaccine.
The winners, who were only identified by an anonymous number and the county they live in at the event, will be notified via email, text or by telephone by the California Department of Public Health over the next several days.
Due to privacy concerns, winners will have the option to accept the prize while remaining anonymous. The prize can also be declined altogether.READ MORE: Gas Leak In San Francisco's Inner Richmond Prompts Shelter-In-Place, Evacuations
Among the Bay Area winners in Friday’s drawing, three were from Santa Clara County, two were from San Francisco and one was from Alameda County. Additional winners live in Mendocino County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County and San Luis Obispo County.
Two more drawings are scheduled. An additional 15 Californians will be selected for $50,000 prizes in a drawing on June 11. On June 15, the same day of the state’s scheduled full reopening, 10 Californians will be selected for $1.5 million prizes.
Also as part of the Vax for the Win program, California is also providing $100 million in $50 prepaid or grocery cards for up to 2 million newly-vaccinated people. Officials said at least 350,000 Californians have become eligible for the cards.MORE NEWS: Oakland's Mills College Looks At Potential Merger With Northeastern University, May Confer Degrees Again
All Californians 12 and older who have received one dose have been entered into the drawings, but must complete their doses to claim their winnings. Winners ages 12-17 will have their money placed in a savings account until they turn 18.