First round of Kentucky’s vaccine lottery winners named
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Patricia Short, a Lexington area woman, still can’t believe she won the $1 million prize at the Kentucky’s first ‘Shot at a Million Vaccine’ Incentive Drawing. Joined by other winners of the lottery at a news briefing in Kentucky’s capitol Friday, she encouraged Kentuckians to get their shot of the coronavirus vaccine.
“I just want to thank everybody. And I want everybody to keep registering. Get online. I did it,” Short said, smiling and standing next to her husband, Gary. “It happened. It’s real. I’m still numb.”
Short and the five other winners were selected in a random drawing Thursday.
“We were some of the first to get the vaccine. We took it without being told we could win $1 million,” said Gary Short. “This happens in the movies, and now it happens in Kentucky. I hope it makes 1 million more people get vaccinated.”
Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, congratulated the six winners and shared that more than 608,000 people entered to win $1 million or full-ride scholarships to a Kentucky public college, university, technical or trade school.
“Folks are excited about this, and they should be,” Beshear said. “All you have to do is the right thing — the thing that protects you and your family and your community and you have a shot at a million bucks or a free college education.”
The drawing was launched in order to persuade more people to get the vaccine. Since the lottery’s announcement, more than 121,700 Kentuckians have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Some 2 million Kentuckians total have received at least one dose.
Out of the five teens from across the state that won prizes, two will be going into their senior year in the fall. Chris Frost, parent of winner Crystal Frost, said “winning the scholarship means a lot” as it will help give his family “the flexibility of not having to wonder where the money is going to come from to send Crystal to college and opens up how we will look at choosing a college.”
Kentucky launched the lottery June 4 and permanent residents are eligible for the drawing if they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The next round of winners will be announced July 29. Those who did not win in the first drawing remain eligible for the final two drawings.
Ohio, Colorado, Maryland, Oregon and New York State have also launched similar vaccine incentive lottery programs.
Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.