(The Center Square) – Every vaccinated Oregonian age 18 and older have a shot at winning $1 million, Gov. Kate Brown announced on Friday.
The prize applies to any Oregonian who at least one shot of COVID vaccine from Pfizer, Moderna, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson. Vaccinated residents ages 12 to 17 will all have a chance to win one of five $100,000 college scholarships. One Oregonian in each of the state's 36 counties will also have a chance to win a $10,000 prize. The contest applies to the undocumented, Brown said Friday.
Dubbed "Take Your Shot Oregon," the vaccine contest is a collaboration between the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Lottery and paid for with $1.86 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Act money. The Oregon Health Authority will randomly draw names for winners in collaboration with the Oregon Lottery.
OHA won't share personal information with the Oregon Lottery. Winners may opt out of the contest to preserve their privacy. Employees and family members of the Oregon Lottery, the Governor's Office, the Treasurer's Office, and the Oregon Health Authority are ineligible to win. Brown's office announced those who got a shot at federal vaccination sites, such as tribal health providers, could expect an update in the coming week.
Winners will be chosen on June 28. Names will be announced the week after. The cutoff date for Oregonians to add their names to the state vaccine database is midnight on June 27. Oregonians who rolled up their sleeves months ago for a COVID vaccination are already entered to win, said Oregon Lottery Directory Barry Pack on Friday.
Based on vaccination statistics from the Oregon Health Authority, Oregonians have a 1-in-2,176,585 shot at the state's million-dollar prize next month.
Brown made the announcement during a Friday news conference with Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen, Pack, and Dr. Ashby Monk, Executive Director for the Global Projects Center at Stanford University.
The contest is modeled after research of Dr. Monk's concerning civic participation and human psychology. He claims the more positive messaging of a contest than grim health statistics would help encourage people to participate in the vaccine rollout. He anticipates the lottery spurring a 20% bump in vaccination rates in the coming week.
"Every day, we're getting closer to ending this chapter of the pandemic," Brown said. "Vaccines are the best tool we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19, and our fastest way to end this pandemic."
Oregon's contest mirrors that of Ohio's, which was announced last week. The Buckeye state plans on holding five $1 million drawings for vaccinated adults and five more drawings for college scholarships for vaccinated Ohioans ages 18 and younger. Since the announcement of Ohio's "Vax-a-Million" campaign on May 13, the state's health department reports vaccination rates jumped by 28%.
New York and Maryland have followed suit with their multi-million dollar lotteries. New Yorkers who get their shots between next Monday and Friday will get a chance to win up to $5 million. By Tuesday, Maryland will randomly choose one vaccinated Marylander for a $40,000 prize every day for 40 days through July 3. One person will receive a grand prize of $400,000 on July 4.
Allen said on Friday that the state's current mask guidelines are intended to help vaccinated Oregonians stop the spread of the pandemic to unvaccinated or half-vaccinated neighbors.
"If you're unvaccinated, you really should be wearing a mask," Allen said. "If you're fully vaccinated, it's safer to without one, but it really depends on the people that you're around."
Brown announced last week that she intends to fully reopen by the end of June or once 70% are vaccinated with at least one dose. While the state's case rates have seen gradual declines, the governor has left it up to businesses to check customers' vaccination status if they want to ignore the state's mask guidelines. About 40% of Oregonians are now fully vaccinated, according to the CDC's COVID Tracker, and another 51.6% have received at least one dose.