We love both the name of the program and what it stands for: Governor Andrew Cuomo just announced the creation of "Vax & Scratch," a new city-run plan that will provide free $20 New York State lottery scratch-off tickets to folks 18 and up who are willing to get vaccinated at one of 10 different sites across the state beginning next weekend. The grand prize? A hefty $5 million.
Of course, the idea of potentially ending the pandemic, protecting ourselves and aiding the city in its reopening plans is enough of a reason to get vaccinated, but some folks clearly need an extra incentive—and this might just be it.
"We know that vaccinations are the vital piece of the puzzle we need to crush COVID once and for all," the Governor said in a press release announcing the news. "We're doing everything we can to make getting a vaccine as quick and easy as possible, but as vaccination rates slow across the state, we're going to have to get creative to put even more shots in arms. The more New Yorkers we can get vaccinated, the better our situation and the faster we can return to a new normal, so I encourage everyone who hasn't been vaccinated yet to go to your nearest site and get the shot."
Although the first winner will be awarded the whopping $5 million, the payouts are offered on a scale. Second place will win $50,000, for example. The third winner will make $20,000, the fourth $5,000, the fifth $2,000—all the way to the 13th winner, who will earn $20 (the price of the regular lottery ticket available for purchase). That means that you've got one in nine chances of winning something.
The program will run May 24 through May 28 and the lottery ticket will be given to New Yorkers 18 and up who will get their first dose of Pfizer or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the following ten sites, which will be open for both walk-ins and appointments from 8am to 7pm:
NEW YORK CITY
Medgar Evers College - Carroll Building
231 Crown St
Bay Eden Senior Center
1220 East 229th St
429 11th Ave
New York, NY
160-2 Liberty Ave
SUNY Stony Brook Innovation and Discovery Center
1500 Stony Brook Rd
Stony Brook, NY
CENTRAL NEW YORK
State Fair Expo Center: NYS Fairgrounds
581 State Fair Blvd
New York National Guard Armory
2 Quincy Pl
WESTERN NEW YORK
University at Buffalo South Campus
3435 Main St
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
100 Seymour Rd
Rochester Dome Arena
2695 East Henrietta Rd
Given that over half the state is fully vaccinated and, as of yesterday, 62% of New York residents have received at least one vaccine, we're confident that this new scheme will truly help us enter the next stage of our local reopening plans. Learn more about the program right here.