New Mexico offers $10M in cash, prizes to entice people to get vaccinated

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Prize winners must have been vaccinated in state

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico has announced an incentive program that is making $10 million in total prizes available throughout the summer to residents who receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.

To be eligible for the sweepstakes, New Mexicans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 must opt in to register and verify their personal and vaccine information for the Vax 2 the Max Sweepstakes online.

“Getting vaccinated is the right thing to do — for yourself, for your family and for your state,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said during the sweepstakes announcement. “I’m excited to add a little fun to our nation-leading vaccination push.”

Vaccinated New Mexicans who opt into the sweepstakes will be part of five weekly drawings that begin in mid-June. According to a press release from the governor’s office, each weekly drawing will award one winner $250,000 from each of New Mexico’s four public health regions for a total of $1 million in cash prizes each week.

A grand prize of $5 million will be awarded to one winner at the end of the sweepstakes in early August. Additionally, starting next week, New Mexicans who receive their vaccinations through providers who have partnered with the state’s registration system will be eligible to win various other prizes.

“That’s a lot of money. That’s college tuition for me. That’s a huge thing,” said Albuquerque resident Zee Paul. “I’m on my game. I got my vax. But it would be a big thing, I need that money and there’s a lot of other people in Albuquerque and New Mexico who need that money and would benefit from that money.”

New Mexicans must have received at least one COVID-19 shot to participate in the vaccination site giveaways and regional drawings. To be eligible for the final statewide drawing, residents must be fully vaccinated.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, or two weeks after the single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

The state said they developed the sweepstakes after seeing success in other states.

“Ohio has been running a sweepstakes for a while now, and their governor has reported an increase in vaccinations in that state, including in target populations, rural populations, younger folks. So obviously, we want to do everything we can to reach out and encourage New Mexicans to get vaccinated as well. So we’re happy to take a good idea from elsewhere and put it to use,” said Matt Bieber, Department of Health spokesperson.

Winners will be selected at random with prizes including:

  • One of 18 in-state “staycation” travel packages that range from $600 to $1,100, including four nights of accommodations and gift cards to local businesses and experiences
  • Fishing and hunting licenses
  • Annual day-use passes for New Mexico State Parks
  • Day-use passes for New Mexico state museums and cultural sites

Starting next week, the New Mexico Lottery will deliver 10 prize wheels to providers who have partnered with the state registration system. Sites will be spread across the state.

Residents who receive vaccinations at these sites will be eligible for a chance to win various prizes such as New Mexico Lottery tickets. According to the press release, winners will be required to show their official COVID-19 vaccination record card upon claiming their prize.

Non-winning entries in the sweepstakes will carry over from one weekly drawing to the next drawing. A person may not win more than one $250,000 regional drawing, and all eligible participants will be eligible for the final $5 million drawing.

To be eligible to win a prize, individuals must be at least 18 years old and a resident of New Mexico. Employees of the New Mexico Lottery and the Office of the Governor and any state employees appointed by the governor, along with any members of their households, are not eligible to participate.

Full rules and regulations for Vax 2 the Max are available online.

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