California Announces 'Vax for the Win' Vaccine Lottery With Prizes Up to $1.5 Million

by Natasha Gabrielle | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on May 31, 2021

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People waiting in a socially distanced line outdoors for vaccine clinic.

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California residents can earn a $50 grocery gift card or cash prizes up to $1.5 million through the state's vaccination incentive program.

All across the country, state leaders have been working hard to encourage residents to get vaccinated. Since some states are still struggling to increase their vaccination rates, they're getting creative and offering the chance to win money through a state-run lottery.

Many states are running lotteries for residents who get the COVID-19 vaccine. States that have recently offered cash prize incentives include:

  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Colorado
  • Oregon

And now California has recently announced its own vaccine lottery, named Vax for the Win. Keep reading to learn more about how vaccinated residents can get a chance to win prizes up to $1.5 million.

California is the latest state to offer a vaccine lottery

Governor Gavin Newsom wants to reward residents who have already gotten the COVID-19 vaccine and those about to do so. He recently announced a vaccine incentive program, Vax for the Win, which will give away $100 million in $50 prepaid grocery cards and $16.5 million in cash prizes. This program is targeted towards residents who are already vaccinated or those who will soon become vaccinated.

To take part in this program, you must be at least 12 years old and be a California resident. Incarcerated people and those living out of state are not eligible to win. Here are the prizes up for grabs:

10 residents will win $1.5 million

Ten lucky residents will each win a grand prize of $1.5 million. The winners will be chosen on June 15. All eligible residents who have had at least one dose of the vaccine will be automatically entered into the drawing. Prizes will be paid out after winners complete the vaccination process.

30 residents will win $50,000

The $1.5 million prizes aren't the only money up for grabs. A total of 30 people will be entered to each win a $50,000 prize lottery on two Fridays during June:

  • 15 residents will win on June 4
  • 15 residents will win on June 11

2 million residents will be given $50 prepaid gift cards

California also wants to encourage residents who have yet to get vaccinated to do their part. Starting on May 27, the first 2 million residents who start and complete the vaccination process will get a prepaid grocery gift card. Gift cards will be available while supplies last.

Eligible residents will receive one of the following:

  • A $50 virtual gift card
  • A $50 grocery gift card from Kroger
  • A $50 grocery gift card from Albertsons

Virtual cards can be used online, in-store where debit cards are accepted, or added to a mobile wallet for in-store purchases that accept mobile wallets. Kroger gift cards can be used at Kroger brands, including Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Foods Co. Albertsons gift cards can be used at Safeway, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, and Andronico's Community Markets.

Save money for the future

If you're a California resident who lucks out and wins big through the Vax for the Win lottery, you'll need to think about what to do with your winnings. Stashing those funds away in the bank is one good option. By opening a high-yield savings account, you can earn interest on your money while you let it sit.

And if you need more ideas, check out our personal finance resources to learn other ways to put your money to good use.

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