Gov. Cooper launching four $1 million cash drawings as COVID-19 vaccine incentive in N.C.

((Steve Sbraccia/CBS North Carolina) | (Steve Sbraccia/CBS North Carolina))
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 4:46 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - Governor Roy Cooper is launching four $1 million cash drawings as an incentive for North Carolina residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine and boost the state’s overall vaccination percentage.

Over the next three months of summer, four people will win a million dollars each for being North Carolinians who have gotten at least one vaccine in the state.

Anyone already vaccinated would be eligible. North Carolinians 18+ who get vaccinated or have already been vaccinated will be automatically entered.

North Carolinians from 12-17 who have gotten at least one shot are automatically entered into four drawings to pay $125,000 for a college education at a school of their choice. The $125,000 can be used at any post-secondary institution and is awarded in the form of a NC 529 account.

The first drawing will be on June 23 and they will occur every other week until the last one on Aug. 4.

The drawings will take place every other Wednesday. For extra incentive anyone getting their first shot from June 10 going forward will be entered twice for each drawing. New entries will close at midnight on the Sunday prior to the Wednesday drawing. Winners will be verified and then announced.

“Regardless of who wins, there’s no way to lose. A chance at a million dollars or a college scholarship is pretty good motivation. But even if your name isn’t drawn, the worst you’ll do is get strong protection from a deadly virus,” Gov. Cooper said.

The state has recently fallen behind the national pace of vaccinations with only 54 percent of adults who have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine,

That percentage is in comparison with nearly 64 percent of adults nationwide, according to state Department of Health and Human Services data.

“In North Carolina, we still have around 2 and a half million adults who are not vaccinated. Getting this life-saving vaccine to those people is critical for the health of our state and the health of our economy,” Gov. Cooper said.

DHHS recently launched an experimental vaccination incentive program, offering $25 cash cards to people getting shots in four counties including Mecklenburg and Rowan.

There have been 1,007,273 COVID-19 cases reported in the state since the first case was reported in North Carolina on March 3, 2020. The total number of people who have died of complications with the virus is now 13,246 in North Carolina. Officials said there are 548 hospitalizations.

On May 14, Gov. Cooper lifted all mandatory capacity and gathering limits, social distancing requirements, and most mandatory mask requirements.

Executive Order 219, which has concurrence from the North Carolina Council of State, authorizes the drawings.

“Everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccination is a winner,” said Dr. Mandy K. Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “They protect themselves, their loved ones and others from severe illness, hospitalization and death. Millions of people have already taken the vaccines. These summer cash drawings add another reward to the many that come with getting a COVID-19 vaccination.”

The drawings are part of the state’s Bringing Summer Back get-out-the-vaccine campaign to increase awareness of the availability and safety of COVID-19 vaccines and encourage North Carolinians to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they can. The vaccines have been tested and found to be safe and effective for anyone 12 and older.

North Carolina joins other states that announced million-dollar drawings to promote vaccinations. Ohio, the first state to launch such a program, reported a 28-percent increase in vaccinations among those 16 and older in the first two weeks following the announcement.

The $4 Million Summer Cash and Summer Cash 4 College drawings will use federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to fund the program. The drawings will be supported by the North Carolina State Lottery Director. The scholarship funds will be managed by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority.

Learn more about the $4 Million Summer Cash and Summer Cash 4 College Drawings at For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and the state’s Bringing Summer Back initiative, visit or dial 1- 888-675-4567.

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