Newsom Announces $116.5 Million in Cash Prizes to Encourage COVID-19 Vaccinations

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the launch of “Vax for the Win,” a multifaceted vaccinate incentive program aimed at motivating residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as the state approaches the June 15 retirement of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Under the program, the following prizes will be available:

  • $16.5 Million in Cash Winnings – On June 15, the state will conduct a random drawing of 10 vaccinated residents for prizes of $1.5 million each, totaling $15 million in total grand cash prizes. Cash prizes of $50,000 each for 30 vaccinated residents will also be awarded on Friday, June 4, and Friday, June 11.
  • $100 Million in Prepaid Cards – Beginning May 27, the next two million residents who begin and complete their COVID-19 vaccination will automatically be eligible for a $50 virtual prepaid card or a $50 grocery gift card, totaling $100 million in prizes.

According to the Newsom Administration, the “Vax for the Win” program will provide an extra nudge to individuals who still need to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, especially in hard-to-reach communities. The funding for the prizes is initially coming from the state’s General Fund, using the state’s disaster response account. However, the funding is anticipated to be backfilled by federal funds under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

All residents ages 12 and older who are at least partially vaccinated are automatically eligible for cash prize drawings occurring in June. Winners must complete their full vaccination series to claim their prize, and if someone under the age of 18 wins, the cash will be placed into a savings account until the winner is 18 years old.

Additional information from the Governor’s Office is available here. A one-pager on the incentive program is available here.