(The Center Square) – Illinois is about to have a new pre-tax millionaire after the state’s first vaccination lottery drawing Thursday, despite a new study that suggests such lotteries might not boost vaccination rates.
One vaccinated Illinoisan will get $1 million – minus taxes – and three vaccinated youths will get $150,000 scholarships.
The money, taken from federal taxpayer-funded COVID-19 relief aid, will be distributed through weekly drawings through late August.
In an effort to encourage Illinoisans to get vaccinated, the state is offering $7 million in cash prizes and $3 million in college scholarships. The lottery is open to residents who have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine in the state.
The Illinois Department of Public Health will be notifying winners by phone or email starting this afternoon. The first round of winners were from the following locations across Illinois, according to state officials:
- $1 million cash prize: Chicago
- $150,000 scholarship: DeKalb County
- $150,000 scholarship: Suburban Cook County
- $150,000 scholarship: Chicago
Winners will be contacted by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Illinoisans are being asked to keep their phones on and check their emails to find out if they have won. IDPH will call from 312-814-3524 and or email from DPH.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners will be announced eight days after each drawing unless they choose to remain anonymous.
Vaccine-incentive lotteries have also launched in Ohio, California, New Mexico and several other states.
A recent study by the Boston University School of Medicine concluded that giving away millions of federal tax dollars and hundreds of thousands in college scholarships did nothing to improve Ohio’s COVID-19 vaccination rate.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced this week that Illinois has added a vaccine lottery for state employees who work at direct care facilitates and have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Cash prizes range from $5,000 to $10,000, with other prizes including airline vouchers and tickets to sporting events, including Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs games.
“The Chicago Cubs are happy to be part of this collaborative public-private effort to increase the state’s vaccination rates and protect frontline workers who are essential to providing services to Illinois citizens,” sad Julian Green, senior vice president of communications for the Chicago Cubs.
The Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and the Illinois Department of Corrections announced the drawings to eligible employees in late June and will announce winners July 19.