Need a reason to get the COVID vaccine this summer? How about a million?

Governor Roy Cooper is hoping to encourage more North Carolinians to get vaccinated against the coronovirus by offering millions of dollars in cash and prizes to cover college expenses.

Cooper announced the $4 Million Summer Cash and Summer Cash 4 College Drawings at a Thursday press confrence.

“A chance at a million dollars is pretty good motivation,” the governor said. “Even if your name isn’t drawn, the worst you’ll do is get strong protection from a deadly virus.”

Here’s how it will work:

  • All North Carolina residents 12 and older who have been vaccinated with at least one dose are eligible, some restrictions may apply.
  • Those vaccinated on or after Thursday’s announcement will be entered twice for each drawing increasing the chance of winning for the newly vaccinated.
  • Drawings will take place every other week on Wednesdays with the first drawing on June 23.
  • New entries will close at midnight on the Sunday prior to the Wednesday drawing.

Read the official rules here.

North Carolina is hoping the new cash incentives will generate the same response seen in Ohio, where vaccination rates jumped 28 percent among those 16 and older in the first two weeks following their million dollar giveaway.

DHHS Sec. Mandy Cohen

State officials are worried by the lack of urgency seen in early April in getting one of the three vaccines.

“When you look at North Carolina compared to some other states, we are starting to lag behind,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

“I am proud that we are doing well compared to a lot of other states in the South, but there are many states that are now seeing 70% of their adults vaccinated. We can get there too.”

North Carolina has about 2.5 million adults who still are not vaccinated, according to the governor.

Individuals will be automatically enrolled in the drawing based on receiving a dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

The prizes are funded by the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.

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