SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom Friday morning selected the first winners in the state’s $116.5 million Vax for the Win lottery, an effort to get more Californians vaccinated for the coronavirus.
Newsom selected 15 people to take home $50,000 each. Anyone who has received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine was eligible.
Three of the winners were from Los Angeles County and a fourth was from Orange County. No names were publicly released.
A second drawing will be held on June 11 to pick another 15 people to win $50,000 each.
On June 15, the date the state is scheduled to lift the majority of its COVID-19 restrictions, the state will draw the names of 10 vaccinated residents, each of whom will receive $1.5 million.
Newsom defended the decision to use taxpayer money for the lottery incentive campaign, saying that other states are also using similar incentive programs.
“Some states that are actually incentivizing vaccinations with guns, some states are incentivizing vaccines with shots of beer and other alcohol…many states have done incentives along the lines that we’re proposing today,” Newsom said.
Newsom also made mention of California’s purported $76 billion budget surplus which he announced last month.
So far, at least 38 million coronavirus shots have been administered in California. About 52% of the eligible population age 12 and older is fully vaccinated, according to the latest state numbers.