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A Winslow woman on Sunday won $896,809 in a state-sponsored sweepstakes encouraging Mainers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Kay Spofford, a dialysis dietitian in her early 60s, was randomly selected among 350,256 people who entered the drawing. The “Vaccinationland Sweepstakes” awarded Spofford $1 for each Mainer who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 4.
The state launched the free sweepstakes June 16; the deadline for entries and vaccinations was June 30. Over 20,000 residents got inoculations since the contest’s start.
Spofford received two doses earlier this year at MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Center for Health in Waterville. In a news release, she said she was vaccinated to protect her patients who have serious kidney disease, as well as her loved ones and community.
“It still feels surreal that I’m the winner of the sweepstakes,” she added. “My husband and I strive for a simple life, but this money will give us peace of mind in our retirement and allow us to make repairs to our house and travel to visit our children and our grandbaby on the way.”
Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav D. Shah said, ““We extend our congratulations to Kay Spofford on not only winning the sweepstakes, but on protecting herself, her patients, and her community by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Like many states, Maine is working to promote vaccination by offering incentives such as cash and gifts. Businesses have teamed up with the state and with local health care providers to sweeten the pot.
Other incentives offered across the U.S. include a $5 million "Vax & Scratch" lottery program in New York, a Maryland contest with $2 million in prizes, and $1 million jackpots in Colorado and Oregon. California has been the most lucrative state for getting vaccinated, with over $116 million in cash prizes.
Roughly 67% of Mainers age 12 or older have received their final dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state CDC on Tuesday. A total of 1.54 million doses have been administered.
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