ANNAPOLIS — As coronavirus hospitalizations and the positivity rate continue to decrease in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan announced a $2 million incentive to encourage more residents to get boosted.
The “Vax Cash 2.0” drawing, with money coming from lottery proceeds, will run for 12 weeks. The first drawing scheduled Feb. 15 a winner would receive $500,000. In weeks two through 11, each person will receive $50,000.
On the 12th and final drawing, the grand prize winner would receive $1 million.
The Maryland Lottery will oversee the drawing and choose a number randomly and the state health department will notify all the winners.
Hogan said any resident who receives a COVID-19 booster shot by Monday will be eligible for the drawing. For those who already obtain a booster shot are also qualified for the drawing.
“The entry for this $2 million lottery campaign is simple: you must 18 and older and have received all of your shots here in Maryland,” Hogan said Tuesday inside the State House in Annapolis. “The goal with this promotion is to reach those people who didn’t realize the importance of getting a booster, who are on the fence, or those who just haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
Hogan said this new lottery will be similar to “Go-Vax” lottery last year when about two dozen people received $40,000 to get a shot in the arm. The grand prize winner received $400,000.
The state also offered $50,000 college scholarships for 20 youth ages 12 to 17 to receive a COVID-19 shot. When Hogan made the announcement in July, he said the $1 million for that drawing came from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan.
The state reached a milestone Tuesday with 95% of Maryland adults 18 and older received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, whether it came from the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the one-shot version from Johnson & Johnson.
The figure currently sits at 82% for youth ages 12 to 17.
The seven-day positivity rate also decreased to 5.8%. During the recent omicron variant surge, that figure stood at nearly 30% on Jan. 5.
Hospitalizations also decreased by 42 patients over the most recent 24-hour period to 1,111 statewide.
The state continues to celebrate “Healthcare Heroes Appreciation Week,” so Hogan asked all Marylanders to wear blue Friday to honor them.
Students are asked to participate in a poster contest to honor nurses, doctors, emergency technicians and other health care workers. Each winning poster will be displayed at all hospitals and each winner will receive a governor’s citation at the State House.
This represents “a sign of appreciation for these incredible heroes who have sacrificed so much for us over these past two years,” Hogan said.