Jennifer Conary looks away as she receives a COVID-19 vaccination, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Auburn, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

One lucky vaccinated Mainer will be rewarded with a large sum of cash on July 4. 

Gov. Janet Mills announced a new program, called the “Don’t Miss Your Shot: Vaccinationland Sweepstakes,” to incentivize Mainers to get a COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

The program will award a jackpot that equals the number of Mainers who have received a vaccination, in an effort to get the state to 70 percent of its population fully vaccinated by July 4. Seventy-four percent of Mainers aged 12 and up have received at least one dose of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Currently, 876,655 Mainers have received a vaccine, leaving the state at just under 70 percent of its population who have been fully vaccinated, Mills said. That puts the minimum jackpot at $876,655.

For each Mainer that receives a vaccine between now and 6 a.m. on July 4, a dollar will be added to the jackpot. A winner will be chosen randomly, and will be announced on July 4.

To enter the sweepstakes, Mainers can visit the Maine COVID-19 portal on the official Maine government website. Registration will be open until 11:59 p.m. on June 30. Any person over the age of 12 who received a vaccination after December 15, 2020, is eligible. 

The program was launched as the nation edges closer to President Joe Biden’s goal to have 70 percent of Americans receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. States and companies across the nation have offered various incentives to encourage vaccinations, including free beer and free marijuana

Monetary incentives have ranged from one-time payments from employers to million-dollar sweepstakes. New Mexico’s offering of $5 million in sweepstakes is the highest in the nation, according to the Associated Press

Maine has offered incentives throughout the spring to encourage Mainers to get vaccinated. In May, the state launched the “Your Shot to Get Outdoors” program that offered Mainers the opportunity to claim free L.L. Bean gift cards, tickets to Portland Sea Dogs games, or a hunting or fishing license after receiving a first dose of a vaccine. The program ended at the beginning of June, after fewer than 15 percent of eligible Mainers claimed their rewards. 

Vaccinations were also offered at a June 10 Portland Sea Dogs game, where attendees were able to get a vaccine along with a free hot dog, water, Sea Dog biscuit and a ticket to a future game.

“Maine people are resilient,” Mills said on Wednesday. “We know the best way to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities is to get vaccinated.” 

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is a journalism and anthropology student at the University of Maine, and will graduate in May. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley and staying active in the Maine...