Vaccination could win you a million bucks in Illinois lottery

  • Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep dean of students Pierre Edmonds receives the COVID-19 vaccination from Jewel-Osco pharmacy manager Yara Lucht in Waukegan earlier this year.

    Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep dean of students Pierre Edmonds receives the COVID-19 vaccination from Jewel-Osco pharmacy manager Yara Lucht in Waukegan earlier this year. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, Feb. 11

Updated 6/17/2021 5:16 PM

Illinois will hold lotteries for residents who have received COVID-19 vaccines, or plan to receive the vaccine, that could net adults as much as $1 million and vaccine-eligible youngsters $150,000 scholarships.

In all, the state will award $10 million throughout the summer to vaccinated residents, according to the governor. Anyone already vaccinated is automatically entered in the drawings.


Ultimately, three $1 million prizes and 40 $100,000 prizes will go to people chosen from among those who are vaccinated. Vaccinated residents between ages 12 and 17 are eligible for 20 $150,000 Bright Start scholarships.

The first drawing will be July 8, where one $1 million prize will be awarded and three $150,000 scholarships will be announced.

After that, drawings will be held every Monday through Aug. 16 in which three people will win $100,000 each.

On Aug. 12, the state will hold another drawing where two $100,000 winners from each of the state's 11 health regions will be announced.

On Aug. 16, in addition to the weekly $100,000 awards, two $1 million winners will be announced and $150,000 scholarships will be awarded to one youngster in each of the 11 health regions, as well as six more scholarships awarded at-large.

Residents don't have to be fully vaccinated at the time of the drawing to be eligible, officials said.

Pritzker urged residents to visit to learn more about the schedule of the lotteries.

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Funds for the drawings are part of federal aid the state received.

Pritzker called the lottery a "thank you" to those who have already received the vaccine and those planning to do so. The governor said he hoped the lottery would also spur more people to get vaccinated. Previously, most of the state's vaccine incentives had gone to those who were hesitant to get vaccinated.

"Getting the shot now is going to help us end this," Pritzker said at a news conference Wednesday. "If you do, you might even hit the jackpot."

You don't have to do anything to enter. Anyone who is vaccinated fills out forms with contact information, which goes into a statewide database, Pritzker said. That information in IDPH's database will be used to pick lottery winners. Winners can choose whether they want to be identified. If they do not, the winners will be identified by hometown if they live somewhere with more than 20,000 people. They will be identified by county if their hometown population is less than 20,000, according to a news release.

IDPH officials will assign each person who gets a shot a number. Those numbers will be given to Illinois Lottery officials who will use a "random number generator to draw winning number(s) for each drawing," according to the news release.

The numbers chosen by lottery officials will be reported back to IDPH, who will contact the winners initially. Lottery officials will also contact the winners to guide them through a "standard prize-claiming process."

Taxes will be deducted from any winnings.

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