'Vax and Scratch' $5M lotto program begins at NY state-run vaccination sites

Coronavirus Update for New York

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, May 24, 2021
NY's 'Vax and Scratch' lottery starts today at state-run sites
Candace McCowan reports on how the vaccine lottery program works from the West Side.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New Yorkers can get a free lottery ticket worth up to $5 million if they get vaccinated starting today at state-run vaccination sites.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the pace of vaccinations has slowed: New York has recorded an average of 123,806 daily shots in arms over the past 14 days. That's down 43% from 216,040 as of April 12.

"If you were undecided or dubious about getting a vaccine, now you have an added bonus. Don't miss this chance," Cuomo said.

New Yorkers can get a free lottery ticket if they get vaccinated next week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.

As part of the "Vax and Scratch" pilot program, if someone gets vaccinated at one of the state's 10 mass vaccination sites between May 24 and 28, they'll receive a scratch-off ticket for the $5 million Mega Multiplier Lottery.

A ticket normally costs $20. The top prize is $5 million, but anyone who has a ticket has a one-in-nine chance of winning something.

"You have a one-in-nine chance of winning the lottery. But you get the vaccine and win. If you get the vaccine, then this (mask) goes away. If you are vaccinated, there are more opportunities for you," Cuomo said.

The incentive is similar to programs introduced by other states.

On Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the state would offer free state park passes, a free glass of wine, as well as a chance to win dinner with the governor and First Lady Tammy Murphy.

Last week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state's Vax-a-Million lottery system, offering residents a $1 million prize or a full-ride scholarship to a four-year university in the state. That state saw a 53% increase in vaccinations with the initiative.

New York has fully vaccinated about 43% of its 20 million residents, above the national average of 37.8%.

Meantime, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the NYC Vaccine Contest. There will be a new contest each week. Anyone who gets newly vaccinated at a city-run vaccination site qualifies. Winners will be announced the following week.

Prizes include:

- Staycation packages

- Concert tickets

- Broadway shows

- And more...

The contests will run through early July.

This week, the city's prizes include 10 one-year passes to Crunch Fitness and 50 3-day passes to the Governor's Ball.

Also beginning Monday, seven airports across New York state will open pop-up vaccination sites.

JFK, LaGuardia, and Westchester County airports are among the places travelers can get the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine with no appointment.

These sites will be open through Friday and don't require you to be a New York resident to get a shot.


A reminder, you do not need an appointment to get a shot at state or New York City vaccine sites.

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