Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $116 million giveaway program for all Californians who have been vaccinated.
The first batch of grand prizes will be given out on June 4 and June 11 in a “$50,000 Fridays” drawing. After that, $15 million will be distributed among 10 Californians on June 15, the same day that California will start its “full reopening” of the economy.
The $15 million split means those chosen could win up to $1.5 million each.
“Getting every eligible Californian vaccinated is how we bring our state roaring back from this pandemic,” Governor Newsom said. “California has already made incredible progress in the fight against COVID-19, with the lowest case rates in the country, while administering millions more vaccines than any other state. But we aren’t stopping there, we’re doing everything it takes to get Californians vaccinated as we approach June 15 to help us fully reopen safely.”
The state will also give out $50 “incentive cards” to the following 2 million people who get vaccinated as of Thursday, available to use at either Kroger/Ralphs supermarkets, Albertson’s, or as a MasterCard gift card.
Republican John Cox, who ran against Newsom in 2018 and plans to run again in the coming governor recall election, immediately condemned the program and accused Newsom of “buying votes.”
“Those 2 million gift cards will make up $100 million of the giveaway program.“Thousands of small businesses have closed. Thousands more are on the brink. Millions of Californians have lost their jobs. Kids are sitting at home instead of in the classroom,” Cox said in a statement. “Instead of addressing those issues, Gavin Newsom is spending more than $100 million to buy votes before the recall. This is 100 million more reasons that Gavin Newsom must be recalled.”
Newsom said this is the “most significant” vaccination incentive program in the U.S., and that California is divvying up the largest prizes in the U.S.