To increase interest in the COVID-19 vaccine, the state announced the rollout of an estimated $116.5 million incentive program Thursday, which will offer inoculated Californians the chance to win up to $1.5 million.
The state’s giveaway will award 10 vaccinated Californians a prize of $1.5 million a piece, and 30 others will have a shot at winning $50,000 each. All state residents who have received at least one dose will be eligible for the prizes, and those who have already been inoculated are already entered.
In addition to these giveaways, the next 2 million people who begin and finish their vaccine series will be eligible for a $50 prepaid card or a $50 grocery gift card.
“Some Californians weren’t ready to get their COVID-19 vaccine on day one, and that’s okay,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of the California Department of Public Health and the state’s public health officer, said in a statement. “This program is designed to encourage those who need extra support to get vaccinated and help keep California safe.”
Starting Tuesday, CVS Pharmacy will also be rolling out their incentives program, which will enroll customers 18 and older who have already received or plan to receive their shot through CVS health in a massive giveaway program with over a thousand prizes. Prizes include a VIP trip to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, a getaway to Bermuda and a seven-day cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line, among others.
“We’re grateful for the millions of people who’ve received one of the well over 17 million doses we’ve administered at CVS Health, but we have a long way to go,” Dr. Kyu Rhee, senior vice president and a chief medical officer of CVS Health, said in a statement. “Getting as much of the population fully vaccinated will bring us one step closer to all the things we’ve missed during the past 14 months, and keep our country moving in the right direction.”
The incentives come as the vaccination rate continues to climb across the state and in Santa Barbara County as well. As of Thursday, 51.2% of the county’s eligible 12 and older population is fully vaccinated, which equates to about 43.3% of the entire population.
The amount of new cases remained low on Thursday. The Public Health Department reported seven new cases and no deaths on Thursday.
Four cases were reported in Santa Maria, two were reported in Santa Barbara and one was reported in the North County unincorporated area of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe. All other areas reported no new cases, and the county’s current active case count stands at around 47 cases still infectious.
As of Thursday, six people are hospitalized for COVID-19, three of which are recovering in the ICU.