A Colorado health worker became the last American to win a $1 million COVID vaccine lottery prize as states scrambled to increase demand for the shots.
On Friday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced that Sally Sliger, a 50-year-old healthcare IT worker from Mead, has won the first of five $1 million awards for residents who have had the COVID-19 vaccine. received.
Sliger beamed as she accepted the award Friday with husband Chris at Polis’ official Denver mansion.
The 50-year-old explained that she got the injection back in April so she could see her family without worrying, and said winning the money was a “surreal” bonus.
She and her husband plan to use the money to pay off their two sons’ student loans and build their retirement fund, Sliger told a news conference.
The state is hosting a public health initiative called the Colorado Comeback Cash, which brought every resident vaccinated in late May into the first draw, the Associated Press reported.
To be eligible to win, residents had to be 18 years old and have received at least one dose of the approved coronavirus vaccines.
On Friday, Sally Sliger, (pictured) a 50-year-old healthcare IT worker from Mead, won the first of five $1 million awards for residents who received the COVID-19 vaccine
California Governor Gavin Newsom (pictured) also announced the state lottery winners on Friday, taking a game show host approach to the vaccination lottery
Colorado’s lottery is one of several lavish vaccine promotion programs launched across the country in the past month.
New Mexico has the biggest prize on offer – with one lucky person who got their vaccine set up to win $5 million.
The awards are designed to get people excited to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, as vaccine demand in the US has fallen from an average of three million a day in April to more than 1 million a day in the past month.
On Friday, the CDC announced that about 1.4 million new doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered since Thursday, pushing the seven-day average back up to more than 1 million doses per day.
Worldwide, more than 2.06 billion doses have been administered in 176 countries, at the rate of 37 million doses per day, Bloomberg reported.
It means that about 13.5 percent of the world’s population has received a dose.
The US has administered 299 million doses of the vaccine so far, Bloomberg reported.
Virologists fear that if less than 70 percent of the population gets the vaccine, it will be impossible to achieve ‘herd immunity’ and that COVID will continue to spread.
In May, U.S. regulators approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12 years old. increasing vaccine suitability for about 17 million Americans, a move US officials hope will accelerate the country’s progress toward herd immunity.
California Governor Gavin Newsom also announced the winners of the state lottery on Friday, hosting the vaccination lottery.
Newsom drew California’s first 15 winners of $50,000 prizes for getting vaccinated against coronavirus from a lottery machine.
The drawing is the ffirst in a series of draws, culminating in 10 top prizes worth $1.5 million each on June 15, the day the state expects to drop nearly all coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses and gatherings, the AP reported.
The winners, who must choose to remain anonymous, have 96 hours to claim their prizes before the state draws alternate winners.
Friday’s winners came from across the state, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Alameda, San Luis Obispo and Mendocino counties, the AP reported.
Average daily vaccinations have fallen from more than three million per day in April to less than 1.5 million per day in June
Health experts attribute declining numbers to vaccinations: 50.9% of the US population, including children ages 12 and older, have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 41.2% have completed their vaccine series
Other states are offering huge cash prizes, including New Mexico, which currently has the country’s largest vaccine lottery with its Vax 2 the Max program.
Residents can win several prizes from a total pool of $10 million and the winner will take home a $5 million top prize.
Lotteries are funded by federal pandemic emergency funds, with state governors insisting they are good value for money.
Last month Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a $1 million prize for five people age 18 and older who receive a COVID vaccine.
Two of those awards have been awarded to date. Amazon delivery man Jonathan Carlyle, of Toledo, was declared the second winner on Wednesday.
Abbey Bugenske, a 22-year-old college student, became the state’s first winner on May 27.
Five people aged 12-17 are also eligible for a four-year full-ride scholarship at an Ohio state college or university, Spokesperson.com reported.
The Ohio Department of Health said vaccinations for ages 16 and older rose 28 percent the weekend after the lottery announcement.
Meanwhile, in West Virginia, lottery prizes are more varied.
In addition to a $1 million cash prize, vaccinated West Virginians are eligible to receive five custom shotguns and shotguns and five lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.
The West Virginia awards also include two new custom trucks and 25 weekend trips to local state parks, as well as two full four-year scholarships to in-state colleges will be offered in a separate lottery to people between the ages of 12 and 15.
“The awards to me are secondary to the fact that we are trying to save your life,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said at a news conference.
The governor also pointed out the importance of vaccinating residents.
“All our hospitalizations, all our ICU units, all our deaths, for the most part, are all people who haven’t been vaccinated. I don’t know how it gets any easier than that,” Justice said.
“These vaccinations are amazingly safe and they will protect you.”
“I don’t know how in the world people sit on the sidelines and still say, ‘No, I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to do it.’