New Yorkers who get vaccinated against COVID-19 at state-run vaccine sites next week will receive a free Mega Multiplier lottery ticket with the chance to win up to $5 million.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced the state’s Vax & Scratch campaign to give a free Mega Multiplier lottery ticket to any New York resident who gets vaccinated at one of 10 state-run sites starting Monday.
First-prize winners will receive $5 million, with 12 additional prize levels down to $20.
“In essence, get a vaccination and you get a free $20 scratch-off ticket for the Multiplier game 100% free,” Cuomo said Thursday during a coronavirus briefing in Buffalo. “...If you were undecided about getting the vaccine or dubious about getting a vaccine, now you have an added bonus.”
New Yorkers have a 1 in 9 chance to win a cash prize. Mega Multiplier lottery tickets are valued at $20.
The pilot program will end Friday, May 28.
Participating state mass vaccination sites include SUNY Polythechnic Institute in Utica, the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, the Rochester Dome Arena and SUNY Buffalo. The other six sites in the Vax & Scratch campaign are downstate in Westchester County or New York City.
“There have been other states that have tried similar incentives — some have a lottery where you can win a million dollars; in our lottery, you can win up to $5 million,” Cuomo said. “We’re excited by the prospects of this. ... It’s a situation where everybody wins. You have a 1 in 9 chance of winning the lottery, but you get the vaccine and you win.”
The new incentive will begin as the number of people getting a coronavirus vaccine dwindles across the state and nation, with 123,806 shots administered in the state May 19 — a 43% decline from a peak of 216,040 doses administered in New York on April 12.
More than 62.6% of New Yorkers ages 18 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. About 53.5% of state residents are fully vaccinated, Cuomo said.
People are less inclined to get the vaccine as federal and state officials relax COVID regulations and mask orders for vaccinated people, Cuomo said.
“People say, ‘Well, COVID is over, I didn’t get the vaccine, now I don’t need to,” the governor said. “That’s not true. The regulations are relaxed for people who got vaccinated — not for people who didn’t get vaccinated.”
All New Yorkers need to get a coronavirus vaccine for the state to excel and rebuild from the pandemic, Cuomo said.
The state’s COVID-19 positivity rate declined to a seven-day average of 1.02% Thursday — the lowest level since Sept. 26.
Hospitalizations decreased 31 patients to 1,490 people.
Eighteen people died from virus complications Wednesday — one of the state’s lowest daily fatality numbers in 2021.