CHARLOTTE, N.C. — We hope you're feeling lucky because this morning, North Carolina drew its first $1 million vaccine lottery winner. It may take a few days for the general public to find out the winner, but the state starts making contact with people who won immediately after the drawing.
If you are 18 or older, a North Carolina resident, and at least partially vaccinated as of Sunday, June 20, you're automatically entered to win.
Wednesday is the first of four drawings throughout the summer.
"I'd like to think i have like a 99% chance of winning," Brianna Rafferty said.
In reality, for adults 18 and older, it's actually a 1 in 4.9 million chance. For teens, there's a 1 in 348,000 chance of winning the $125,000 for college. After taxes, the $1 million prize comes out to $707,500.
"I'd invest it, work a little bit more maybe four or five years and then I could just retire after that," Ethan Mook said.
Here's how the vaccination drawing works:
The North Carolina Education Lottery will conduct a random number generator drawing and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will determine the individual that corresponds to the number that is drawn. Every person who has been vaccinated is already in the states secure COVID-19 Vaccine Management System.
"We drew one quote-unquote top-tier winner and then 20 alternates. If the person is unwilling to meet terms and conditions, if they don't return our phone call in 48 hours, if there's anything that impedes their ability to claim the prize we'll move on to the next alternate," Hattie Gawande, with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said.
The incentives haven't had much of an impact on vaccination rates yet, but there are three more chances to win big. Officials hoping the buzz around the first winners will encourage more people to protect themselves.
"Money just makes the world go round for some people so as much as we can incentivize this, I think people should get vaccinated so if this is what's going to push them then it's good," Rafferty said.
Winners cannot stay anonymous.
"I would try to promote it more, the COVID vaccine for sure with some of it, and then I would invest it in my kids future," Elcin Icingir said.
Mecklenburg County health leaders think people still don't realize these incentives are being offered.
Audio and visual recordings of the random number generator drawing will be made available. However, NCDHHS said they must then go through a lengthy process of verifying that the individual does not fall under any exclusions from participation in the program and contacting the individual to get their consent to receive the funds and release their identity. This may take several days. No identifying details will be revealed prior to that, NCDHHS said.
The $4 million Summer Cash and Summer Cash 4 College drawings will use federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to fund the program. The drawings will be supported by the North Carolina State Lottery Director. The scholarship funds will be managed by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority.
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