BOSTON (WWLP) – A major announcement was made by Governor Charlie Baker Tuesday, and it could finally help you achieve your goal of winning the lottery.
Starting next month, fully vaccinated residents in Massachusetts can enter to win up to a million dollars in a new statewide program. The Baker administration is teaming up with the Massachusetts State Lottery to launch a new “Vax Millions” giveaway.
New public health data show that western Massachusetts is lagging behind the Boston area. But, the new Vax-Million lottery could boost vaccination numbers locally.
“I think the vaccine is a good thing and people need to get it while they can,” said Theresa Benoit of Springfield.
Massachusetts is joining several other states in giving its residents a chance to win cash prizes if they get the COVID-19 vaccine.
One million dollar prizes will be given to five adults who are fully vaccinated but that’s not all, five fully vaccinated residents between the ages of 12 and 17 could also win up to $300,000 in college scholarships.
“I see that Springfield is poor community and financial assistance for higher education can only be a good thing,” said Christine Agnitti of Springfield.
The money for the lottery will come from the American Rescue Plan. Gov. Baker said if you’re not vaccinated, you can’t play.
“Eligible residents will be able to enter the drawing beginning on July 1. If you don’t have access to the internet or require assistance there will be a call center available to help you,” Gov. Baker said.
The VaxMillion lottery comes as Massachusetts this week surpassed 4-million people who are fully vaccinated. But immunization rates are not consistent throughout the Commonwealth. For example, in Hampden County, vaccinate rates among black and brown residents are 20-percent lower than their white nieghbors.
“We are really working very very locally, we’re sort of referring to it as really hyper-focused on those communities where we need to continue to address vaccine hesitancy,” said Marylou Sudders, Health and Human Services.
The targeted vaccine efforts are still in the early stages, but progress is being made. Right now, every county in Massachusetts has more than 50-percent of residents over 18 with at least one dose of the vaccine.
“Whatever it takes to get people vaccinated,” said Benoit. “We need that number to bump up.”
State officials will pick one lucky winner each week between July 26 and Aug. 27.
Residents that get vaccinated after July 1 will still be able to enter.