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Colorado governor announces statewide COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes with $1 million prizes

Under the Colorado Comeback Cash sweepstakes, anyone 18 and older who has received a first dose will be eligible for the drawings.

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis announced the details on Tuesday of a statewide sweepstakes with five drawings of $1 million each to encourage people to become vaccinated against COVID-19.

Under the new program, called Colorado Comeback Cash, the Colorado Lottery will hold five drawings between June 4 and July 7. Anyone 18 and older who is a Colorado resident and has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically entered if the Colorado Immunization Information System has your records. You can check here.

The sweepstakes will be funded by federal funds through the CARES Act that otherwise would have gone into advertising and marketing, Polis said.

"We have seen this kind of drawing work in states like Ohio, where they saw a surge in interest from launching their drawing," Polis said. "And we expect that we'll see the same thing here."

As of Tuesday, 58.5% of Coloradans have received a first dose and 51.5% are fully vaccinated, Polis said.

The dates for the drawings will be:

  • June 4
  • June 11
  • June 18
  • June 25
  • July 7

Those who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 11:59 p.m. the Tuesday before the next drawing will be eligible to win.

How do the drawings work?

Individuals 18 and older who are in the state's database of those who have been vaccinated -- called the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) -- will be assigned a random number. For each drawing, one winning number and several alternates will be drawn, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will contact the winner.

Is personal information safe?

CDPHE said yes. CIIS is a confidential database that includes demographic information about vaccine recipients, provided to the state by vaccine providers. Colorado Lottery won't have access to that information.

"Along with those doses come demographic information for the patient, so things like your address and your phone number, and even your email address if you give it to the health care provider," said Heather Roth, Immunization Branch Chief for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Division of Disease Control and Public Health. "We have really good data quality in the system. We have phone numbers for 89% of the people in the system."

How will the state protect personal information?

CDPHE will randomly assign a number to each eligible person in CIIS and report those numbers to the Colorado Lottery on the day of each drawing. Colorado Lottery will use a random number generator to draw a winning number, and CDPHE will contact that person and request written release before any of their personal information will be disclosed. No personal health information will ever be disclosed.

Can winners remain anonymous?

No. In order to receive the prize, the winner must agree to the release of their identity to the public.

Can a winner decline the prize?

Yes. If the person whose number is drawn declines the prize, an alternate winner will be selected.

What about 12- to 17-year-olds who have been vaccinated. Are they eligible?

No. The state is working on a scholarship contest for Coloradans in that age group.

Can an individual win multiple times?

No. Each person is eligible to win once.

Will the prizes be taxed?

Yes. State and federal taxes must be paid.

Who is disqualified from being eligible?

Administrators of the CIIS, Colorado Lottery employees conducting the drawing, auditors who certify the drawing, the governor and lieutenant governor of Colorado, the senior director of the Colorado Lottery.

RELATED: US to reach 50% of adults fully vaccinated Tuesday, White House says

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