State offers four million-dollar prizes for vaccinations

Gov. Roy Cooper
Gov. Roy Cooper

With “vaccine hesitancy” growing, Gov. Roy Cooper is offering million-dollar prizes and scholarships to North Carolinians who get the shot.

Four vaccinated state residents will win $1 million each, and four students between 12 and 17 will receive $125,000 college tuition scholarships. The governor made the announcement today (Thursday) after signing Executive Order 219. The order was signed with the support of the Council of State, according to the governor’s office.

North Carolinians 18 and over who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically entered into four drawings for a chance to win a $1 million cash prize. Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically entered into four drawings to win $125,000 towards post-secondary education. The $125,000 can be used at any post-secondary institution and is awarded in the form of a NC 529 account.

State officials have noted a decline in COVID-19 vaccinations as the pandemic’s effects have lessened in North Carolina. Columbus County is currently one of the least-vaccinated counties in the state, according to the state Department ofHealth and Human Services.
After several vaccination clinics that ran out of shots within hours, Columbus County’s Health Department now has a surplus of vaccines. The county’s Maskup Columbus campaign to encourage vaccinations is ongoing, and vaccinations are now available on demand at the Health Department. An after-hours clinic is also scheduled for June 15.

As state numbers have decreased, so have vaccinations, Cooper said. The state is continuing to push vaccinations, to avoid a new resurgence of the virus.
“A chance at a million dollars is pretty good motivation. But even if your name isn’t drawn, the worst you’ll do is get strong protection from a deadly virus,” Cooper said.

The drawings are part of the state’s Bringing Summer Back vaccination campaign to increase awareness of of COVID-19 vaccines and encourage North Carolinians to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they can. The vaccines have been thoroughly tested and found to be safe and effective for anyone 12 and older, Cooper and Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said.

North Carolina joins other states that announced million-dollar drawings to promote vaccinations. Ohio, the first state to launch such a program, reported a 28 percent increase in vaccinations among those 16 and older in the first two weeks following the announcement. 

Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds will be used to fund the program. The drawings will be supported by the North Carolina State Lottery Director. The scholarship funds will be managed by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority. 

Learn more about the $4 Million Summer Cash and Summer Cash 4 College Drawings at For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and the state’s Bringing Summer Back initiative, visit or dial 1- 888-675-4567.

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Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at