Who wants to be a (vaccinated) millionaire?
Governor Charlie Baker and state Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg on Tuesday announced the VaxMillions lottery sweepstakes, which will offer $1 million cash prizes to residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — or a free college education if you’re younger.
Here are five things you should know about the program, which will make some lucky winners living proof that trusting the science really does pay.
1. Who’s eligible, exactly?
For the cash drawings, state residents are eligible if they’re 18 or older and are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Residents are considered fully vaccinated against the virus if they’ve received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna shot, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson jab.
The Baker administration said in a statement that only “lawful, permanent residents of Massachusetts who are fully vaccinated” can enter the sweepstakes. “Residents must have received their vaccine doses within Massachusetts. Residents must be fully vaccinated prior to submitting their entry.”
Residents aged 12 to 17 who are fully vaccinated, the statement said, can enter to win one of five $300,000 scholarship grants.
2. I’m a fully vaccinated adult, and I could use a cool million — how do I enter?
While details are still being worked out, Baker’s office said that starting July 1, “Massachusetts residents will be able to enter the VaxMillions Giveaway online. If you do not have access to the internet or require assistance, there will be a call center available. Signup information and call center contact info and hours will be made available prior to July 1.”
Additional information on the program and signup process is available online at https://www.mass.gov/massachusetts-vaxmillions-giveaway.
3. So when are the drawings?
Baker’s office said the drawings will “be held once a week for five weeks beginning the week of Monday, July 26 and continuing through the week ending Friday, August 27.” All told, officials said, the sweepstakes will award five $1 million cash prizes and five $300,000 scholarship grants.
4. What’s the deal with those grants?
According to Baker’s office, the scholarship awards will be granted through “a 529 College Savings Plan managed by the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA).”
Funds in such plans, the statement said, “can be applied to cover tuition, room and board, and related expenses at any college, university, or technical or trade school or other post-secondary educational institution eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the US Department of Education.”
Winners with a qualifying disability, the statement continued, “may elect instead to receive an equivalent financial contribution to a special needs trust or federally qualified ABLE account to cover qualified expenses.”
5. Okay, I’m in. I’ll roll up my sleeve for a shot at seven figures. But is there a vaccination site near me?
Absolutely, if you live within the friendly confines of the Commonwealth.
The statement noted there are over “900 vaccination locations across the Commonwealth, with appointments and walk ins widely available.” Residents can find a spot near them on the state’s vaxfinder.mass.gov website.