Philly to announce first winners of COVID vaccine sweepstakes this week

The exterior of Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia City Hall. (Danya Henninger/Billy Penn)

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The first of three drawings in Philly’s vaccine sweepstakes is today, but the winners won’t be announced until later this week. That’s because it could take time for the city to reach potential winners who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The city has $400,000 in giveaways, including cash prizes. Every vaccinated person in the city is eligible for the drawing, but half the prizes are set aside for ZIP codes where fewer than 50% of residents have received at least one shot.

“The idea of this is we are selecting from the lower vaccinated ZIP codes in the city and really trying to motivate people who maybe are still thinking about getting that shot, are still sitting on the fence, or are just too busy and haven’t gotten to it to come out because they could win up to $50,000,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole.

People who live in the 19126 zip code, in the Oak Lane section of the city, will receive half of this week’s prizes — but they must be fully vaccinated.

“So it is possible that someone could get a call and find out they just missed a chance to win $50,000 because if they didn’t get their first shot by the time they get their call, they can’t win,” she said. “So we really want to make sure they don’t miss out on those chances and they do get their shots.”

Bettigole, who was director of the Chronic Disease Prevention section of the city’s Health Department before assuming her current role, says the goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, and the lottery is just one way the city is getting the word out. She said the prizes could be the extra incentive people need to get protected against COVID-19.

The next drawing in July will focus on the 19133 ZIP code in North Philly.

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