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Illinois draws first $1M vaccine lottery winner

The state will give away $10 million total in prizes over the next seven weeks

ILLINOIS, USA — Illinois residents are one shot away from their shot at becoming a millionaire.

On Thursday, July 8, the state awarded one vaccinated adult $1 million and three vaccinated kids $150,000 scholarships. All four were from the Chicago area.

  • $1 million cash prize: Chicago
  • $150,000 scholarship: DeKalb County
  • $150,000 scholarship: Suburban Cook County
  • $150,000 scholarship: Chicago

The prize money kicks off the state’s "All In for the Win" promotion. For seven weeks, vaccinated Illinoisans will have the opportunity to win one of 43 cash prizes through weekly drawings. The state will give away $10 million total.

"All In For The Win is yet another way we're working to ensure every single resident is protected from COVID-19, and especially, this virus' more dangerous variants," said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.

After the July 8 lottery drawing, three $100,000 cash prizes will be awarded to eligible adults every Monday from July 12-Aug. 16.

For the program's grand finale, two $1 million cash prizes will be awarded to eligible adults, and $150,000 scholarships will be awarded to 17 eligible kids 12-17 on Aug. 26.

Winners must be Illinois residents and have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Illinois. Everyone who qualifies is automatically entered into the drawing. Each resident can only win once and can choose to remain anonymous.

Prize money is funded by federal grants in the effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Vaccines are incredibly effective and keep you protected – and they also make your community safer. Getting the shot is how we truly end this thing, so vax up, Illinois. If you do, you might even hit the jackpot," Pritzker said.

VERIFY: Checking claims about the Illinois vaccine lottery

The Illinois lottery will use a random number generator to draw winning numbers. Winning numbers will be given to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which will match it to qualifying individuals. Winners will be notified by the Illinois Department of Public Health by phone and email.

However, there are questions over whether these types of incentive programs work.

Researchers from Boston University looked at a similar lottery program in Ohio and found its $1 million lottery did not lead to an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations. These researchers said leaders should focus on targeting vaccine hesitancy over these types of incentives.

Other critics question the ethics of a vaccine incentive.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has said he is considering some kind of statewide incentives to encourage more people to get their COVID-19 vaccine as the virus continues to spread faster in Missouri than in almost every other state.