A man from the Las Vegas area won the USD 1 million grand prize Thursday to cap an eight-week coronavirus vaccination jackpot programme. The program was created by Nevada Gov Steve Sisolak to boost enthusiasm for coronavirus shots.
The prize winners were announced by their first name and last initial at a live event hosted by the governor at the Las Vegas Convention Center and aides at the Sierra Arts Foundation’s Riverside Gallery in Reno. On June 17 the program called Vax Nevada Days was launched with USD 5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds.
The percentage of vaccinated state residents increased to about 10 percent between the time the prize pool was publicized in mid-June and when it ended according to the health data released on Thursday. Sisolak, a Democrat, appealed people to still get their vaccine jabs even though the promotional event called Vax Nevada Days was over.
Nearly 100% of people being hospitalized with COVID-19 in Nevada area who are not vaccinated, said Sisolak, quoting those severe illnesses preventable.
He said, “As the scientists say, and health experts keep telling us, vaccines are the only way we will end this pandemic once and for all.”
To induce unvaccinated people to get their vaccine shots, the prize program was launched in June 17 with $5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds.
It put Nevada on a list of states offering unconventional incentives to recover slow vaccination programs during the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, hospitalization and deaths credited to the more infectious delta variant.
Nevada has about 3.1 million residents. About half the population age 12 or older, or 1.4 million who had received at least one dose by June 17, and almost 43% of eligible people were fully vaccinated.
The population that received at least one shot had grown to more than 61% by Thursday, and almost 51% were the fully vaccinated percentage.
The prize program made state residents who received at least one vaccination since December, along with vaccinated military members in Nevada and their dependents, automatically eligible to receive prizes ranging from fishing licenses to college tuition and cash prizes from $1,000 to $250,000.
The number of vaccinations administered statewide — after peaking at more than 25,000 in mid-April — went down from about 7,000 per day in mid-June to fewer than 5,000 a day in mid-July before returning to around 7,000 daily in recent weeks.