Vaccine sweepstakes. California, Oregon, New York, Maryland, and Colorado are giving away cash prizes to several lucky COVID-19 vaccine recipients:
Colorado will award $1 million to vaccinated resident each week, starting June 4 to July 7.
In Oregon, one lucky vaccinated resident will win $1 million while one vaccinated resident in each of their 36 counties will receive $10,000.
Maryland will hold forty daily drawings to give away $40,000 to vaccinated residents with a $400,000 drawing on July 4th.
New York residents who received a vaccine at one of their ten mass vaccination sites between May 24 and 28 will receive a scratch-off ticket for a chance at winning the $5 million Mega Multiplier Lottery.
- California is giving away a total of $116.5 million in cash prizes. Ten vaccinated residents will win $1.5 million on June 15. An additional 30 residents will win $50,000 each. Half will be selected on June 4 and the rest on June 11. Lastly, another 2 million people who begin and finish their COVID-19 vaccine series will automatically be eligible for either a $50 prepaid gift card or a $50 grocery card. (LA Times)
These programs were launched after observing the success of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Vax-a-Million
campaign in increasing the vaccination rate among state residents
. Given that each program is structured differently, I couldn’t help but wonder which state residents have the highest odds of winning. For programs with staggered drawings, where more and more residents become eligible with each successive drawing, it’s clear that those who are vaccinated sooner rather than later have a higher probability of winning. The devil is often in the details, however. For example, as of the May 23 deadline, 2,758,470 adults were entered into the first drawing in Ohio
which is half of the nearly 5.2 million Ohio residents who have received at least one vaccine
. To become eligible for Ohio’s drawing, vaccinated residents must register on their website
. That means that their total pool of eligible winners may not increase as rapidly as they will in states like Colorado and Maryland, which automatically enter any resident who has received at least one vaccine. As of May 25, when Maryland’s sweepstakes began, over 3.36 million residents received at least 1 dose
, which means that the chance of winning $40,000 in the first drawing in Maryland is lower than winning $1 million in Ohio. Colorado residents face a lower probability of winning than both states, given that over 3 million residents have received their first dose as of May 25
, which is a week before the deadline for entry (midnight on June 1). However, Colorado residents may have better overall odds since the total population size is estimated to be 5.77 million
compared to 11.8 million
in Ohio and just under 6.2 million
in Maryland. The competition in Colorado may be reduced further given the growing number of complaints among residents who have been unable to verify that their immunization records are in the state’s database
. Colorado has also omitted nearly 65,000 veterans
from the drawing since their immunization records are held by the VA. Note that around 22% of the population in all three states is under age 18, meaning they are ineligible for the drawing. When it comes to one-time drawings, vaccinated residents in Wheeler County, OR, have perhaps the best chances of winning a cash prize. The total population size of Wheeler is about 1,450
. It is the least populated county in Oregon, after Sherman and Gilliam
, and surely some Wheeler residents are not eligible for vaccination. Those odds are in stark contrast to those in New York. Vaccination status does not limit the total number of Mega Multiplier Lottery tickets which means that the probability of winning the $5 million prize is closer to the typical chance of winning the lottery jackpot (about 1 in 302.6 million
). ABC7 noted that the probability of winning anything is supposedly 1 in 9
. As of the end of May, around 54%
of the 30.6 million adults in California have been vaccinated, which means the odds of winning are higher than in New York but much lower than any other state that has launched a vaccine sweepstakes.
Good luck to all the residents in these states and thank you for doing your part in keeping others safe by getting vaccinated.