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3 LA residents among new COVID vaccine lottery winners

Fifteen Californians will soon be richer by $ 50,000 – thanks to a bullet in the arm and the luck of the coin toss.

The second batch of winners of the state’s massive COVID-19 vaccine lottery was selected by lottery on Friday, with Governor Gavin Newsom moderating the proceedings from San Diego County.

A total of 30 Californians will each win $ 50,000 through the state’s “Vax for the Win” program. The draws culminate on Tuesday with the selection of 10 top winners, each of whom will take home $ 1.5 million.

“It includes you or not,” Newsom said. “You will make this decision for yourself. I strongly encourage you, if you are on the fence, to go out and get your shot before Tuesday. “

Any California resident who has received at least one dose of vaccine is automatically entered for a chance to win cash prizes – although the money is not released until the winner has completed their vaccination round.

As they did last week, officials did not name the latest winners, identifying them only by their country of origin.

Three of the latest winners are from Los Angeles County, two from Santa Clara County, and one each lives in Monterey, Sacramento, Alameda, San Francisco, Fresno, San Diego, San Mateo, Riverside, Orange and Kern counties.

Winners will be contacted directly over the next few days, but they can remain anonymous or decline the prizes if they wish.

Most of last week’s winners did not come out publicly. However, Vista resident Nancy Gutierrez, 17, joined Newsom for Friday’s drawing.

“They called my mom, and my mom came in and said, ‘Nancy, you won’t believe it.’ We didn’t believe it at first, ”she said.

As she is under 18, the prize will be placed in a savings account until she comes of age.

“I think most of us want life back to normal, and getting the vaccine would definitely help that,” she said. “So I would encourage everyone to get vaccinated. “

The governor’s office also recently published a video featuring one of last week’s $ 50,000 winners – identified only as “Tony”.

Tony said getting the shot was “super easy” and the cash prize was a welcome surprise after experiencing savings for a year and a half.

“I never thought I could get something like this, but I’m very, very grateful,” Tony said.

According to the California Department of Public Health, two of last week’s winners – one from San Diego County and the other from Santa Clara County – could not be reached and lost their prizes. Officials have since moved to two alternates, one from Sacramento County and the other from Monterey County.

Officials said the goal of the incentive program is simple: to tempt as many remaining refractories as possible and bring the state closer to the more enduring level of community immunity needed to finally defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials say getting a large chunk of the population vaccinated will help protect California from any further potential outbreaks – particularly on Tuesday, when coronavirus capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements are lifted at nearly all businesses and the like. institutions.

On the same day, Californians fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will also be able to get rid of their face masks in most non-work situations. Those who are not fully immunized should always keep theirs in businesses and other public places indoors.

“This disease does not go away on its own,” Newsom said. “We have work to do to increase these immunization rates, and we have continued work to do to make sure it is done in a fair manner.”

Nearly 40 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered statewide, and 68.3% of eligible Californians – those aged 12 and older – have received at least one dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, only about 53.2% of this cohort were fully vaccinated, meaning they received either the Johnson & Johnson single injection vaccine or the required two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

Even with millions of other Californians yet to receive their vaccines, the state’s vaccination rate has plunged in the past two months.

At the height of the vaccination campaign in April, providers statewide were administering an average of about 400,000 doses of the vaccine per day, according to data compiled by The Times. The current vaccination rate is less than half that.

Given the number of people who have already been vaccinated, it is not surprising that fewer doses are now on hand.

Mathematically, fewer people are left in the queue for vaccination, making it more difficult to maintain the pace seen earlier in the deployment. And from a practical standpoint, those who have not yet rolled up their sleeves may hesitate or resist the idea of ​​getting the vaccine, or face obstacles that prevent them from doing so.

However, officials note that continued slowdowns risk further prolonging the pandemic, and areas with lower vaccine coverage levels will remain more vulnerable to potential outbreaks.

“While it is possible for us to have a successful reopening even with a slowdown in the number of vaccinations, it would greatly increase our confidence in our ability to reduce cases if we saw greater use of vaccines,” said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County director of public health. week.

While it doesn’t appear that California’s two-week incentive program has sparked a flood of new nominations, what had been a precipitous plunge has been momentarily halted and even slightly reversed, according to data compiled by The Times .

Providers statewide administered an average of 135,000 doses per day during the one-week period ending Wednesday, according to data from The Times. This represents an average of about 119,000 doses per day over the previous seven-day period, which ran from May 27 – the day the vaccine lottery was announced – to June 2.

Newsom said California is “one of the few states” that has recently seen an increase in dose delivery from week to week.

“This program seems to be working,” he said.

But even with that rise, the latest rate remains well below the rate seen in the week before the incentive program was revealed, when 188,000 doses were dispensed daily, on average.

Overall, the state has averaged about 217,000 doses per day since December 15 and about 244,000 per day since April 15, when everyone 16 and older became eligible.

Times writer Matt Stiles contributed to this report.

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