has announced that it will award a $5 million grand prize to a resident who has been immunized against COVID-19.
It would be the largest monetary incentive offered in the country to date in the hopes of halting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced that vaccinated New Mexicans can now enter the state's "Vax 2 the Max" sweepstakes, which will award $10 million over the summer. Four winners will be chosen each week for five weeks and will receive $250,000 in cash before a final grand prize winner is drawn in early August.
Entrants must be 18 years old or older and have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
; the grand prize winner must be fully vaccinated by the time of the final drawing. Drawings will begin in mid-June, with funds coming from President Joe Biden
's American Rescue Plan
“Getting vaccinated is the right thing to do — for yourself, your family, and your state,” Lujan Grisham told The Associated Press
, adding that she is “excited to add a little fun to our nation-leading vaccination push.”
25,000 New Mexicans had registered for a chance to win in just a few hours.
And that's not all! New Mexicans who receive vaccines
at vaccination sites across the state will be eligible for staycations, state park and museum passes, and more! https://t.co/lP4NO7uZ4Jhttps://t.co/Ok2isROQLzRegister
to win! And let's keep New Mexico safe and healthy! — Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) June 1, 2021
The sweepstakes is the latest state-led effort to persuade residents to get vaccinated and turn around tapering levels of jabs in some areas following an initial blitz of immunizations. Ohio
Gov. Mike DeWine
(R) was the first to announce such prizes, and his state has already selected a 22-year-old recent college graduate as the first of five winners to receive $1 million prizes.
, and California
have followed suit with large cash prizes, while other states
have opted for smaller incentives to a much larger swath of residents who receive a vaccine. The plans have paid off, according to preliminary data, with vaccinations
increasing 33% in the week following the state's announcement of its program.
According to the state's Department of Health, more than 55% of New Mexicans aged 16 and up have been fully vaccinated, with 65% receiving at least one shot.