coronavirus vaccine

Philly to Give $50,000 in Cash to Residents in COVID ‘Vax Sweepstakes'

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine could result in you getting paid cash in Philadelphia

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What to Know

  • Thirty-six lucky Philadelphians will be getting paid for being vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • On Monday, Mayor Jim Kenney and others announced the Philly Vax Sweepstakes that will dole out six top prizes of $50,000.
  • Drawings will be held on June 21, July 6 and July 19.

Philadelphia is putting up hundreds of thousands of dollars to reward people who have already received a COVID-19 vaccine while also encouraging people who are hesitant to get vaccinated.

The so-called Philly Vax Sweepstakes, where nearly $400,000 in cash will be doled out, continues until mid July, the city announced Monday. The biggest prize is $50,000 in cash, which will be given out at random to six people over three drawing dates.

The drawings will take place on June 21, July 6, and July 19. In addition to the $50,000 grand prizes, six individuals will win $1,000 and four will win $5,000 in each drawing, the city said.

In total, 36 lucky Philadelphians will get paid (12 people in each drawing).

“This exciting initiative offers an opportunity to reward Philadelphians who have already been vaccinated while also motivating those who haven’t yet," Mayor Jim Kenney said.

The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and University of Pennsylvania’s Behavior Change for Good Initiative, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, and Flu Lab partnered with Philadelphia for the sweepstakes, which is for every resident 18 and older with at least one dose of a vaccine. Penn said they came to the city to bring the sweepstakes to fruition.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the City to encourage vaccination," Professor Katy Milkman of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania said. "This lottery’s design is unique, and we hope it will meaningfully and measurably increase vaccination rates in Philadelphia, particularly in our most vulnerable communities."

Milkman said Penn will be researching how the sweepstakes impacts vaccination levels and sharing that info with city leaders and others nationwide.

In an attempt to sweeten the pot for under vaccinated communities, "one zip code from the 20 zip codes in Philadelphia with the lowest vaccination rates as of May 27th will be selected at random for extra prizes," the city said.

"For the first sweepstakes drawing on June 21, the selected zip code is: 19126, which includes parts of East and West Oak Lane in North Philadelphia. Residents 18 years of age or older from this zip code have roughly a 100 times greater chance of winning a cash prize than those in other Philadelphia zip codes," the city said in its news release.

"This program is a way to assist communities that were both disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and had fewer testing locations and vaccination sites in their neighborhoods," said Dr. Ala Stanford of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, which has also partnered with Penn and the Philadelphia Health Department for the program. "We will continue to serve the community by offering all three vaccines, no appointment, walk-in, weekly vaccination clinics; as well as home vaccinations for our homebound residents. We will promote the sweepstakes to all Philadelphia residents, BDCC friends and community partners as trusted messengers.”

Stanford said that the BDCC will help people get registered for the sweepstakes as they wait around following a dose.

People can enter the sweepstakes online to ensure entry. You can also call 1-877-642-5666 or text “PhillyVax” to 215-608-9799. You only need to register once for all three drawings, which will be carried out by Pennsylvania's Universal Promotions, Inc.

The city said "names will be drawn from a pool of those who register as well as those in an existing residential database. Philadelphians whose names are selected will be contacted, and if they are unvaccinated, a new winner will be selected."

Kenney said that his administration continues to review a Philadelphia City Council proposal that would also offering prizes to get people vaccinated.

“Incentives in general are raising a lot of interest around the country and in Philadelphia,” said acting Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole, saying she was open to discussing other possible incentives. “They seem to be powerful not as a sole way to get people vaccinated, but as a way to get some people vaccinated.”

Philadelphia said that more than two-thirds of Philadelphia adults have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. But, they are pushing to vaccinate the remaining one-third of residents.

As of June 3, nearly 710,000 people in Philadelphia are fully vaccinated with either one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine of two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. Another nearly 201,000 people re partially vaccinated, according to city data.

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