Watch CBS News

Maryland's First Vaccine Lottery Winner Is From Baltimore County; Everything You Need To Know About The Drawings 

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Maryland Lottery announced the first $40,000 winner from the vaccination rolls. The lucky person is from Baltimore County and can remain anonymous.


"We do not know who the actual winner is, and we will not know until the Maryland Department of Health gets in touch with them and gets their consent," said Carole Gentry, the Maryland Lottery's Managing Director of Communications.

Gentry answered some of WJZ's questions about the drawings, which are an incentive to get people vaccinated. As of Wednesday, about 56 percent of Marylanders have received one shot. State officials are looking closely at the numbers to see if the lottery increases demand. In Ohio, demand is up 28 percent since that state's lottery announcement.

So who is eligible and are you automatically entered? Gentry says anyone aged 18 and older who lives in Maryland and was vaccinated in the state. "The only exclusion is if you were vaccinated at a federal facility in the state of Maryland because the federal government is not sharing that information with the Maryland Department of Health," Gentry told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren.

She said if you have not gotten the shot, you should do so as quickly as possible to increase your odds.

"There's 39 more days of 40 thousand dollar prizes and that grand prize. If I have not been vaccinated, I want to go out and get it right now because I want to be in that pool for all of those drawings coming up," said Gentry. "I want a better chance of winning."

What happens if you win? "The Maryland Department of Health will contact you via phone and email and ask if you consent to release information," Gentry said. "If they don't want it, if we can't reach them after making great effort, we can go to an alternate." She said you cannot win twice.

When do they announce the daily winners? Gentry said by 11 a.m. they will post at least the location of the winner publicly.

How do they protect privacy? The state attaches a number to everyone's name.

Several states have similar vaccine lotteries. Maryland got tips from them.

"The Kentucky lottery shared information with us, the Ohio lottery. Now, there are lots and lots of other lotteries who are reaching out to us because they want to know how to make this work," Gentry said.

The buzzy promotion is getting some mixed reaction. "To me, it's a total waste of taxpayer money," Norm Albert told WJZ. But Henry Starks Jr. called it "a great idea" and said he hopes more people will get the shot. "It's better for your health and better for everyone."

The prize money—totaling $2 million—is coming from the lottery's marketing fund.

Maryland's grand prize $400,000 drawing is July 4th.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.