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Who wants to be a millionaire? Colorado offering five $1M drawings for vaccinated adults

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Posted at 1:39 PM, May 25, 2021

DENVER — Colorado is giving away five $1 million cash prizes to residents who've received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Jared Polis announced the Colorado Comeback Cash program during a press conference Tuesday.

Colorado residents 18 and up who’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine are eligible. Residents 12-17 will be eligible for a scholarship prize, which will be launched later this week, Polis said.

The winner of the first drawing will be announced on June 4. Subsequent winners of the drawings will be announced June 11, 18, 25 and July 7. Residents will need to have received at least one dose of the vaccine by June 1 to be eligible for the first drawing. The last day to qualify is June 30.

There is no need to register for the drawing. Residents who have received the vaccine are automatically entered. The state has a database, Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS), of residents who have gotten at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Colorado Lottery officials will assign a random number to each person in the database and draw a number on the dates mentioned above.

According to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, all enrolled COVID-19 vaccine providers are required to report administered doses to the database, including demographic information about vaccine recipients. You can access your immunization records here.

If your number is drawn, officials will contact you and ask if you want to share your vaccine data to receive the $1 million prize, which will be paid out in one lump sum and is considered taxable income. An individual may only win once during the promotion.

Polis said a little more than 2.5 million Coloradans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, making the odds of winning the drawing roughly 1 in 500,000.

“Isn’t it wonderful to be giving out $1 million dollar prizes along with protection against the Coronavirus!,” said Polis in a statement. “I hope this exciting public health initiative encourages even more Coloradans to get vaccinated now, and for those who have already taken this important step, you’re already eligible to win the big prize. This isn’t just about the money, but about getting more Coloradans the protection they need from this deadly virus so we can put this pandemic behind us and power the Colorado comeback.”

Federal CARES Act funding is paying for the Colorado Comeback Cash program, Polis said. The drawing is being managed by the Colorado Lottery and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Colorado Comeback Cash was modeled after similar programs in other states, like Ohio. The governor said the lottery drawings in that state proved to be successful and created a surge of interest for the vaccine. He hopes the program will have similar results in Colorado.

The CDPHE has provided the following FAQ regarding the Colorado Comeback Cash promotion. The rules and eligibility for the promotion can be found here.

What is Colorado Comeback Cash? Colorado Comeback Cash is a new public health initiative in Colorado intended to promote and incentivize COVID-19 vaccination. It consists of weekly drawings that eligible Colorado residents will automatically be entered into if they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine subject to eligibility rules.

Where is the Colorado Comeback Cash money coming from? The purpose of this promotion is to incentivize Colorado residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and the prize money is being paid for with federal funds given to the state of Colorado to increase vaccine uptake.

Are already vaccinated individuals eligible to enter the drawing? Yes. People who were vaccinated prior to the launch of Colorado Comeback Cash will automatically be entered into the drawing if their records are contained in the Colorado Immunization Information System.

How old do you have to be to be eligible? You must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible for the drawing. We are looking to begin a scholarship contest for Coloradans ages 12-17 soon!

Do you have to be a Colorado state resident to participate in the drawing? Yes, you must be a living resident of the state of Colorado.

How will I be notified if I’ve won? The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will contact you to request use of your information for the purposes of verifying your eligibility to win the prize. All enrolled COVID-19 vaccine providers are required to report administered COVID-19 doses to the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS), including demographic information about vaccine recipients. CDPHE will use multiple methods to reach potential winners based on contact information found within their CIIS record, including phone and email. However, all potential winners will be subject to a process to verify eligibility prior to receiving a prize.

How long does the drawing run? Drawings for $1M will be held each week for five weeks, beginning next week and ending with the final announcement on July 7. The winner of each drawing will be announced on the Friday after the drawing for the first 4 weeks on June 4, June 11, June 18, June 25, and for the final drawing the winner will be announced July 7. The last day to qualify is June 30.

By what date do people have to be vaccinated to be eligible? The drawing will be based on the vaccine records contained in the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) at 11:59:59 PM Mountain Standard Time the Tuesday night before the drawing. It can take a few days for information to be entered into the CIIS, so you should try to get vaccinated as far in advance of the drawing as possible. The last day to qualify is June 30th for the July 7th drawing.

Is my personal immunization information safe? Yes. The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) maintains the records and personal data of those who have had COVID-19 vaccinations administered in Colorado within the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS), a confidential, population-based, secure computerized system. The Colorado Lottery will not have access to CIIS. CDPHE will randomly assign a number to each eligible person for the purposes of this promotion. On the morning of the drawing, CDPHE will report to the Colorado Lottery the total number of Colorado residents 18 or older who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination administered in Colorado that was received and accepted as valid in CIIS. This report will only report the number of eligible individuals and will NOT report any personal information of those individuals. The Colorado Lottery will then use a random number generator to draw a winning number from within the range provided by CDPHE. CDPHE will then make initial contact with presumptive winners and request a written release before any of their personal information will be disclosed. Their personal health information will not ever be disclosed.

Can I remain anonymous if I win? No. In order to be eligible to win, you must agree to the release of your identity to the public. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage everyone to get vaccinated

If I had more than one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, do I have more than one chance to win? No. The number of vaccine doses you have received will not impact your chances of winning.

If I had only one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, can I win? Yes. you are eligible to win

Can I win more than once?No. Each person is only eligible to win once.

Can I decline the prize if my number is drawn? Yes. You may decline the prize when you are contacted by CDPHE and an alternate winner will be selected.

Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings? Yes. All applicable state and federal taxes must be paid.

Who is eligible to win? You are eligible to win if you:

  1. are a living resident of the State of Colorado.
  2. are at least 18 years of age.
  3. are not an administrator of the Colorado Immunization Information System, a Colorado Lottery employee conducting the drawing, an auditor certifying the drawing, the Governor of the State of Colorado, the Lt. Governor of the State of Colorado or the Senior Director of the Colorado Lottery.
  4. received at least your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose if receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccines and your information is contained in the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS).
  5. have not already won.
  6. have signed and submitted all required documentation and releases as part of the claims process by the required deadlines.