BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Officials are continuing the effort to get people vaccinated, and Friday, a lot of money is on the line as the state’s vaccine incentive program officially begins.
There is $116 million in prize money being given out over the next couple of weeks. It all starts Friday, with 15 vaccinated Californians who are expected to have a pretty lucky day.
“Governor Newsom has thrown some money behind that, we all like it, we all need it, money answers all things," said Pastor Marisa Banks, of Compassion Christian Center.
Many states have covid vaccine incentive programs, but California has the largest. The state’s “vax for the win” program is giving out $50,000 to 15 lucky vaccinated Californians on Friday, and they’ll do the same for another 15 people next Friday as well. Pastor Banks is helping organize a free vaccine clinic this weekend.
“There is big money on the table, this is how important it is for California to open all the way up on June 15," she said.
On June 15, the date that the state is slated to fully reopen, “grand cash prizes” of $1.5 million will be given to 10 vaccinated Californians. All winners will be selected at random from the state’s confidential vaccine registry. So if you’ve been given at least one dose, live in California, and are over the age of 12, you’re eligible. Although prize money for minors will be held until age 18.
“We are starting to see a decline in the total number of doses administered on a weekly basis," Governor Gavin Newsom said last week during the incentive program's announcement.
The governor is targeting 70 percent of all eligible people being vaccinated to meet the herd immunity benchmark. State data shows 64 percent of Californians have at least one dose. The CDC in February said the main reasons people don't want to get vaccinated is because of concerns about side effects, and the safety of the shot.
“If we continue down this path and this trend, we’re not going to get where we need to be,” Newsom said.
You can still get vaccinated in Kern County, Public Health’s mass vaccination site at the Kern County fairgrounds is open. And the clinic at Compassion Christain Center will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
“Ages 12 years and older, free of charge, no appointment is necessary, we are here from 10 to to 3 p.m.," Pastor Banks said.
The state is also giving out $50 incentives to every single new person that gets fully vaccinated right now. That applies to those who go to the Christian center on Saturday.