By Jo Erlinda Maufit
SAN DIEGO, California – Governor Gavin Newsom announced in San Diego County, alongside a Vax for the Win program winner from last week’s drawing, the second round of 15 Californians to receive $50,000 as part of the state’s $116.5 million Vax for the Win program – the largest vaccine incentive program in the nation.
With the drawing, 30 winners will have been selected to receive $50,000 each, for a total of $1,500,000.
On June 15, 10 additional Californians will be selected to receive $1.5 million each, for a total of $15 million, as part of the final cash prize drawing, the governor said in a statement sent to Philippine News Today.
To further increase vaccination rates and thank Californians for doing their part, Governor Newsom also announced that the state is partnering with Taco Bell, Chipotle, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Golden State Warriors and the Team LA Store at STAPLES Center on additional incentives as the state reopens on June 15.
“Californians are ready to come roaring back, they’ve proven that by getting vaccinated and helping our state keep COVID-19 transmission rates at record-breaking lows,” said Governor Newsom. “Today’s drawing and the new partnerships with California-based businesses are another exciting opportunity to express our gratitude and build excitement as we head into our state’s full reopening next week.”
Governor Newsom made the announcement at a vaccination clinic in Vista – where he was joined by 17-year-old local Nancy Gutierrez, a prior Vax for the Win program winner who received her $50,000 check, and Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath, while Assemblymember Kevin McCarty and Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman announced the results of the randomized drawing in Sacramento.
“Helping my community has always been very important to me and when receiving my vaccine, I did that,” said Nancy, who hopes to attend the University of California, San Diego after she graduates from high school next year. “I’m very grateful for this money and the opportunities it will bring to me. Now I am really excited to be able to use this money to pay for my future studies.”
California has seen a 13 percent increase in vaccinations administered compared to the previous week, making the state one of the only in the country to achieve a week-over-week increase in the rate of vaccinations. Since Vax for the Win launched, roughly 2 million vaccine doses have been reported, including over 700,000 Californians newly starting their vaccination process, and the state has seen the largest number of first doses administered in communities hit hardest by the pandemic.
To date, California has administered nearly 40 million vaccines, 15.9 million more than any other state, and surpassed President Biden’s goal a month early – over 70 percent of Californians 18 and older have received at least one dose.
“California is on track for a safe reopening next week thanks in large part to the efforts of so many residents who have done their part in getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “We know there remain Californians who need to take this step. When we move beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy over the coming days, our work to provide resources in our hardest hit communities and answer the public’s COVID-19 vaccine questions will continue.”
On June 15, Taco Bell will shell out free seasoned beef Nacho Cheese Doritos® Locos Tacos to customers who show their COVID-19 vaccination card at a participating California Taco Bell location, limit one per customer while supplies last. Chipotle will also thank Californians with a free topping, or equivalent side serving, of Queso Blanco with the purchase of any full-priced entrée item in participating Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in California on June 15. Rounding out the deals, the Los Angeles Clippers are giving vaccinated fans a 15 percent discount in their online store, the Golden State Warriors will provide a 20 percent discount at the Warriors Shop in the Chase Center and the Team LA Store at STAPLES Center will offer a 15 percent discount. All three of these giveaways will run from June 15 through June 20.
Winners from the drawing live in the following counties: Monterey, Sacramento, Alameda, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Riverside, Orange and Kern. The California Department of Public Health will started notifying winners within hours of the drawing and over the next several days by telephone, text, email or other contact information associated with the person’s record in the state’s vaccine registry. To protect their privacy, all winners will have the option to accept their cash prize while remaining anonymous or decline it altogether. In addition, the Vax for the Win program is providing $100 million in $50 prepaid or grocery cards for newly vaccinated people, while supplies last.
The 15 winners from last week’s drawing live throughout the state, including Gabriella, of San Diego, who said “I am grateful for this prize and hope that we continue to see more and more Californians getting vaccinated. These vaccines are saving lives and I encourage other older Californians with serious health conditions to get vaccinated to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from this disease.”
Aurelia, a prior winner from Los Angeles, said “The process was easy and quick and I feel safer now for my own health, but I also feel proud of having done my civic duty to protect my community and those around me. The gratitude I feel for winning a cash prize is immense, particularly when so many are struggling. Some of the money will go towards buying a new car and a new computer, which I have been in dire need of for a while. I want to encourage others to get vaccinated, so that we can all get out of this dark period we endured.”
Tony, of Los Angeles, said “This was a complete shock to me and I’m grateful for the win! The vaccination process was super easy and I’m looking forward to returning to everyday life.”
Californians who have not gotten vaccinated yet are encouraged to go to myturn.ca.gov or call (833) 422-4255 to schedule their appointment, or go to myturn.ca.gov/clinic to find a walk-in clinic in their county.