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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

North Carolina To Hold First $1M Vaccine Lottery Drawing Wednesday

COVID-19 vaccine
Claire Donnelly

North Carolina will hold the first drawing of its COVID-19 vaccine lottery on Wednesday and one lucky state resident will win a $1 million cash prize. Hattie Gawande, a senior policy advisory at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, will conduct the random number generator drawing at 10 a.m. in Raleigh with the help of the N.C. Education Lottery. Here’s everything you need to know.

Who Is Eligible?

North Carolina residents 18 and older who had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of June 20 were automatically entered into the drawing, though there are a handful of exceptions (see next question).

People who were at least partially vaccinated before June 10 receive one lottery entry. Those who were at least partially vaccinated after June 10 receive two entries. Residents must have received their vaccine in North Carolina.

Who Is Not Eligible?

People who are not eligible include those who were vaccinated for COVID-19 for the first time after midnight on June 20, when the entries for this week's drawings closed, state Department of Health and Human Services employees and their immediate family members, and incarcerated people serving a felony sentence in state or federal prison.

Also ineligible: Gov. Roy Cooper and his immediate family members, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen and her immediate family members, and commissioners of the North Carolina State Lottery Commission and their immediate family members.

How Does The State Pick The Winners?

The drawings are randomized. DHHS will assign each lottery entry a unique number and the North Carolina Education Lottery will use a random number generator to select the winner. DHHS will then verify that the winner is eligible and get their consent to receive the money and release their identity. State officials said identifying the winner could take "several days." The Education Lottery will not receive any health data or other personal information from DHHS.

How Will I Know If I’ve Won?

Look out for an email, phone call or letter from DHHS at the address or telephone number you provided at your vaccination appointment.

What If I’m Under 18?

North Carolina residents under 18 who received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday are automatically entered into four drawings for $125,000 scholarships. The prize money is placed in a savings account in the NC 529 plan and must be used for college or other post-secondary education.

What Are The Chances Of Winning?

One or two (depending on the date you received your vaccine) out of the total number of people in your age group who have been vaccinated. Roughly 4.69 million people in the state had received at least one dose as of Tuesday.

You have a greater chance if you received your first vaccine dose after June 10.

Will I Have Other Chances To Win?

Yes. North Carolina will hold three more $1 million drawings and $125,000 scholarship drawings every other week through August 3. New entries will close at midnight on the Sunday before each Wednesday drawing.

Why Is The State Holding These Lotteries?

Cooper announced the $1 million cash prize and $125,000 scholarship lotteries, or "Summer Cash" and "Cash 4 College" drawings, on June 10 in an effort to jumpstart the state’s lagging vaccination rate. But Cooper said on Friday that the state so far had not seen a significant uptick in people seeking shots.

Where Can I Find The Full Rules?

The official rules are available here.

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