If anyone needs additional motivation to a COVID-19 vaccination, is a chance to win up to $5 million a good enough reason to go?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the state will be giving away a free Mega Multiplier lottery ticket for those who haven’t yet received a vaccine if they travel to one of the 10 major vaccination hubs. In Westchester, the Yonkers armory is one of the 10 sites throughout the state where the lottery tickets will be given away.
The Vax & Scratch initiative will be offered next Monday, May 24 through Friday, May 28. Each person who participates to get vaccinated will receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Other sites in the region that will offer the free lottery ticket include the Javits Center in Manhattan and Bay Eden in the Bronx.
“We’re excited about the prospects of this,” Cuomo said. “It starts on Monday. If you are undecided about getting a vaccine or dubious about getting a vaccine, now you have an added bonus. Don’t miss this chance.”
The free lottery ticket, which costs $20 if you were to buy it, is the latest incentive the Cuomo administration has offered to entice state residents to get vaccinated. The Yankees and Mets have worked with the state to offer free tickets if fans are vaccinated at games and events such as next month’s closing night festivities of the Tribeca Film Festival at the June 19 reopening of Radio City Music Hall will only be open to those who get inoculated.
It also comes as the rate of doses that administered statewide continues to plummet since mid-April. Vaccinations have nosedived 43 percent since Apr. 12, down from a daily average of about 216,000 to 123,806 as of Wednesday.
Cuomo is trying to tempt those who have been hesitant to receive the vaccine by stating that while the top prize is $5 million, there is a one in nine chance to win at least $20 – without risking anything. Even if the scratch-off ticket doesn’t net a cash prize, residents will have the benefit of getting vaccinated, including being able to ditch their face mask in many situations and having a better chance of gaining admittance to stadiums, arenas and other venues, he said.
Most importantly, vaccinated residents also will protect the health of others.
“There are practical reasons in life to get the vaccine besides from protecting your own health and protecting your children’s health and your family’s health and your neighbor’s health,” Cuomo said.
Next week, Westchester County Airport will be one of seven airports throughout the state that will be providing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to U.S. residents arriving or departing through the airports. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports are also participating along with those in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.
Similar to the rest of the state, which on Wednesday saw a 0.85 percent positivity rate, Westchester County continues to make strong progress in seeing a reduction in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. On Wednesday, active cases stood at 782 countywide, down nearly 1,000 in the past two weeks. There were just 57 new positives from 7,701 tests results on Wednesday, a 0.74 percent positivity rate. Hospitalizations fell to 58.
County Executive George Latimer said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be closing the Yonkers armory site next week as a vaccination site. However, vaccinations at the County Center and the county’s clinics will continue.
For information on eligibility and vaccination sites, the public may call 1-833-697-4829 or visit https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov