The move by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is part of an effort to boost vaccinations as the state prepares to fully reopen its economy on June 15. Ten Californians who become inoculated before that date stand to win lottery-style prizes of $1.5 million apiece, while another 30 people will each win $50,000.
Beginning Thursday (May 27), the first two million Californians to become vaccinated will each win $50 gift cards for cash or groceries, the state said. The incentives are being offered as Newsom is fighting off a recall campaign that has become a cause celebre among Republicans nationwide.
It is one of many ways that Newsom plans to spend an unprecedented state budget surplus.Across the United States, states and private organizations have offered incentives to persuade people to become inoculated against COVID-19, which has killed nearly 3.7 people worldwide.
The incentives range from free baseball tickets and beer, to college scholarships and cash. On Wednesday, Ohio awarded $1 million to Abbigail Bugenske, a Silverton woman who entered the state's Vax-a-Million drawing. Joseph Costello, a high school student from Inglewood, won a full-ride scholarship, including tuition, books and room and board at an Ohio public university or college.