Cooper announces cash drawing

Gov. Roy Cooper announces the COVID-19 vaccine summer lottery during a media briefing on June 10.

RALEIGH — During a Thursday, June 10, media briefing of the Coronavirus Task Force and NC Office of Resiliency and Recovery, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina is beginning a summer vaccine lottery to incentivize North Carolina residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The cash drawing is open to all residents of North Carolina both 18 and older, as well as individuals 12 to 17 years old. For the 18-and-older group, vaccination recipients who receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into a drawing to win $1 million. For minors age 12 to 17, the lottery will be for $125,000 of funding for post-secondary education. The funds for the lottery are being drawn from federal COVID-19 relief funds.

Cooper said that the effectiveness of the lottery system to increase vaccination rates comes from the results of cash card programs in four North Carolina counties. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Mecklenburg, Guilford, Rowan and Rockingham counties each gave $25 cash cards to each individual who received the vaccine or drove another person to a vaccine clinic from May 26 through June 8.

The summer lottery will occur every other week on Wednesdays over the course of three months. The first drawing will be June 23 and the final drawing will be Aug. 4. Cooper announced that there will be four total adult winners, the winners’ names will be made public and the winnings will be taxed. There will be four winners for the 12- to 17-years old age group as well.

There is an extra incentive for residents who have yet to get their vaccine, however. Beginning from the June 10 announcement, individuals receiving their first dose will be entered into the cash drawing twice. Cooper said that continuing to vaccinate is important, especially now that “most people aren’t wearing masks in most places, (and) unvaccinated people can be a real danger to each other.”

Cooper responded to reporters’ inquiries about the future of North Carolina’s state of emergency and COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order 215, which outlines the state of emergency and remaining mask restrictions in select locations like schools and hospitals, will expire June 11. Cooper stated that he intends to reissue the COVID-19 state of emergency and not allow it to expire, explaining that the state still needs to draw from federal funds that are released during the state of emergency.

The governor, along with Department of Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mandy Cohen, provided an update on COVID-19 in North Carolina, stating that according to the NCDHHS, there are currently a total of 1,007,273 positive cases and 548 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the state.

Ultimately, Cohen emphasized the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and Cooper urged residents to “make sure you have your shot in a million.”

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Marisa Mecke is a Report For America corps member for Mountain Times Publications. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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