LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Some Nevadans have quite a bit more money Thursday, following the selection of the first round of winners for “Vax Nevada Days.”
The goal of the incentive program is to encourage more Nevadans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “Vax Nevada Days” has a total of $5 million in cash and prizes to give out over the next several weeks. More than 200 winners were selected randomly Thursday night — and those lucky Nevadans walked away with everything from college savings plans to huge cash prizes. But you must get the COVID-19 vaccine to be eligible.
“A quarter of a million dollars!” exclaimed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak.
North Las Vegas resident Elizabeth Allder got a special surprise Thursday, for getting her shot. She won $250,000 in cash — the biggest prize on the first of eight “Vax Nevada Days.”
“This is the first time I’ve ever won anything,” Allder said.
Allder was eligible for the money because she got the COVID-19 vaccine. She called her husband after finding out the news Thursday evening, brought to happy tears from the overwhelming emotion.
“We live paycheck to paycheck,” Allder said. “I have student loans that I have to pay off, and it’s just nice to know that I can do that.”
The kindergarten teacher shared why she got vaccinated:
“I wanted to be with my kids,” Allder said. “All 13 of my kids came back to school with me, face-to-face. We made it safe.”
15-year-old Las Vegan Kiana Butler just got her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday — and ended up being the lucky winner of a $50,000 tuition prize (the 529 plan for post-secondary education).
“This is just great because it gives me the opportunity to actually think about going to college now,” Butler said. “That’s one of my main goals.”
During the announcement Thursday evening at CSN’s North Las Vegas campus, a man barged in with a megaphone, shouting anti-vaccine rhetoric.
“These vaccines are killing and harming people,” the man said. “They are hurting people. They are destroying lives.”
But Gov. Sisolak pushed back while speaking to reporters later in the evening, simply stating, “This vaccine is saving lives.”
But even with monetary incentives, Nevada’s vaccination rates are lagging. 8 News Now asked Gov. Sisolak about those who still will not get their COVID-19 vaccine.
“How do you reach out to them, if this isn’t going to work?” Manna asked.
Gov. Sisolak responded with the following: “Well, we’re reaching out every way possible. We’re making it more convenient for everybody to get the vaccine by bringing it into neighborhoods at the pop-up sites.”
As that work continues, Allder is planning her first purchase.
“Buy my mom and dad a car because they don’t have one,” Allder said.
The “Vax Nevada Days” drawings will happen every Thursday until August 26th, which is when the grand prize winner of $1 million will be announced.
To be clear, winners are called ahead of time to verify their information, but they are not told the amount they won until the actual announcement is made.