Nevada is offering $ 5 million in cash prizes to help fuel vaccine efforts


LAS VEGAS (AP) – A new type of jackpot is coming to Nevada, the governor said Thursday, but only for citizens who have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Governor Steve Sisolak on Thursday announced extensive efforts to encourage reluctant or forgetful residents to get vaccinations and added his state to a growing list of unconventional incentives to revive unconventional vaccination programs in the face of dwindling demand.

The governor, a Democrat, didn’t call it a lottery. He called it “Vax Nevada Days” and called the prize program a raffle because participants do not pay to enter and the vaccines are free.

The program automatically entitles all residents of the state who have had at least one vaccination since December to automatically receive a portion of the US $ 5 million prize pool. Vaccinated Nevada military personnel and their loved ones will also participate to win.

The winners will be announced every Thursday for eight weeks from July 8th. Students ages 12-17 can get student loans ranging from $ 5,000 to $ 50,000. Individuals 18 and over are eligible for prizes ranging from $ 1,000 to $ 250,000

A grand prize winner of $ 1 million will be announced on August 26th from among nearly 2,000 winners.

“If people look for a reason not to get vaccinated, they will find one. I’m trying to give people 5 million reasons to get vaccinated, ”said Sisolak, referring to the total cash prizes on offer.

The “Vax Nevada Days” are paid for in US dollars to support coronavirus, he said.

Nevada has a population of approximately 3.1 million. About half of the eligible population, or 1.4 million, received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine during mass hospitals, pop-up neighborhood locations, and running offers in pharmacies.

The number of daily vaccinations has fallen from more than 25,000 in mid-April to less than 7,000.

Thursday’s announcement in a hall in Allegiant Stadium came within sight of local health officials hosting a free vaccination clinic in another.

Nearly 43% of eligible people across the state have completed vaccinations. The numbers are slightly lower in the Las Vegas area, home to about 74% of the state’s population.

Unlike other US states that have prizes to promote vaccinations, Nevada doesn’t have a lottery. The state’s powerful casino industry has historically opposed the creation of public number draws and scratch cards, such as those offered in retail stores in most states.

The governor said the attorney general and the regulatory gaming control board had told him that using a random number generator to select winners was in compliance with Nevada law.

Nevada-based International Game Technology will use its time to conduct draws with a proprietary random number generation program such as that provided for lotteries in other states, said Scott Gunn, vice president of the company.

He said the system will use “an alphanumeric representation of the participants” and the company will not have access to personal identification information. He called the process “secure, random, and fully verifiable”.

Names are on hold with Immunize Nevada, a state agency that books and tracks vaccinations nationwide.

Heidi Parker, executive director of Immunize Nevada, said the giveaway is aimed at getting more Nevada residents to get vaccinated and to include those who have already been vaccinated.

“This gives us an additional boost to our vaccination efforts. We work hard every day to make it even easier for people of Nevada to get the COVID-19 vaccine, “said Parker.

In other states, prices offered to promote vaccination ranged from hunting rifles and shotguns in West Virginia to scratch cards in New York.

In California’s “Vax for the Win” strategy, Governor Gavin Newsom used lottery balls and a game show-style dial to randomly select vaccinated residents for cash prizes and raise awareness of the effort.

Nevada was the third state to make an announcement on Thursday about vaccination prices. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced lottery plans.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 53% of people nationally have received at least one dose of vaccine, including 87.1% of people 65 and over and 44.5% of all people fully vaccinated.

Nevada has reported nearly 328,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and 5,642 deaths as of March 2020. The US death toll from COVID-19 reached 600,000 on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Sisolak found that more Nevada residents had received coronavirus vaccines than any other vaccine in the state’s history, noting that Nevada has historically one of the lowest influenza vaccination rates in the country.

“People in Nevada have been reluctant and resistant to vaccines, and we knew they were,” he said.

Health Department data shows that Nevada has ordered fewer doses of vaccine in recent weeks as the number of people looking for vaccinations has decreased.

The department reported that more than 12,700 doses of vaccine have been wasted since March. The numbers reflect cans that have been opened but unused or thrown away due to errors such as dropped vials, improper storage or mishandling. The data did not differentiate between Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson products.


Metz reported from Carson City, Nevada and is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a not-for-profit national utility that places journalists on local newsrooms to cover undercover issues.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.