Maryland on Tuesday held the first of its $40,000 VaxCash lottery drawings for residents who have received a coronavirus vaccination, with the first winner coming from Baltimore County.

The event, held by the state health department and the Maryland Lottery, kicked off 41 consecutive days of drawings to incentivize people to get vaccinated.

The program will ultimately award $2 million to vaccinated residents. Each winner will get $40,000, except for the final drawing on July 4, which will offer a grand prize of $400,000.

To be eligible for the program, a participant must be a resident 18 or older and have been immunized in Maryland.

The health department will attach a string of numbers in a spreadsheet with each vaccinated person’s name and information. The Maryland Lottery will then generate random numbers, and the health department will check its database for the winning person.

Vaccinated Marylanders are already in the lottery system. Program officials say the lottery will be managed anonymously and people won’t need to worry about their medical information being misused.

So far, 68% of the state population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with roughly 2.8 million residents now fully vaccinated, according to the state’s online tracker.

Gov. Larry Hogan has set a goal to have 70% of all adults vaccinated by Memorial Day weekend.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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