(The Center Square) – Gov. Janet Mills is offering prize money to Mainers who get vaccinated with a new sweepstakes payout that's tied to how many people get their shots.
On Wednesday, Mills rolled out the “Don’t Miss Your Shot: Vaccinationland Sweepstakes,” which is aimed at encouraging more Mainers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Under the plan, Maine residents who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine since vaccinations began last December are eligible for the sweepstakes.
Mills said the payout is based on how many people get at least one shot by the July 4 drawing, and will grow as more people are vaccinated.
"Our goal is to encourage even more people to get the vaccine and declare their independence from COVID-19 as we approach the Fourth of July," Mills said in a statement.
Maine residents who received their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in another state, but got their second dose in Maine by June 30, 2021, are still eligible. Those who were vaccinated in another state are not eligible to enter.
Children between the ages of 12 and 17 can also enter to win, but they must include a parent or guardian’s name, email address, and phone number.
The winner will be announced on the Fourth of July.
“Maine is already known as Vacationland, but to ensure that everyone can get together safely this summer, we also have to become Vaccinationland,” said Nirav D. Shah, director of Maine's Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "There’s no better time to get vaccinated if you haven’t already."
The Mills administration said the prize would total $876,655 — based on the number of fully vaccinated as of Wednesday — if it were paid out. Based on the current pace of vaccinations in the state, the payout will likely be more than $1 million by the July 1 drawing.
Maine has about 1.3 million residents. As of Thursday, more than 64% of the state's eligible population had received a full regimen of COVID-19 vaccines at mass sites, neighborhood clinics and pharmacies.
But state health officials are trying to reach vaccine-hesitant communities that have been reluctant so far to get jabbed.
Several other states and cities as well as businesses have offered vaccine prizes ranging from cash to college savings bonds, concert tickets and subway vouchers.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker this week rolled out the "VaxMillions Giveaway," which offers those who are vaccinated a chance to win up to $1 million in cash or a college scholarship.
In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced last month that Six Flags Great America will offer 50,000 free tickets to newly vaccinated residents.
And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is raffling off 50 four-year scholarships to public colleges or universities in the state for people between 12 and 17 years old who receive their shots.