First Illinois vaccine lottery winners to be drawn Thursday

It’s the first of nine weekly drawings being held throughout the summer as an incentive to get more people to roll up their sleeves.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces the Illinois vaccine lottery June 17.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the Illinois vaccine lottery June 17. The first winners will be draw Thursday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file

The gift of immunization against COVID-19 is about to get significantly sweeter for four Illinois residents — and a million times sweeter for one of them.

The state will draw the first four winners of its coronavirus vaccination lottery Thursday, making one inoculated adult $1 million richer and providing $150,000 scholarships to three minors who have gotten their jabs.

It’s the first of nine weekly drawings being held throughout the summer as an incentive to get more people to roll up their sleeves. A total of $7 million in cash prizes will be doled out to adults, and $3 million in scholarships will go to kids aged 12-17.

Thursday’s prizes include one of only three $1 million jackpots in the lottery.

Anyone who got at least one vaccine shot by July 1 is automatically entered in Thursday’s drawing. For subsequent drawings, the pool expands to include any residents who got their doses at least one week ahead of the draw.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will announce the county or cities of the winners once they’re pulled Thursday afternoon. Winners will get a call from (312) 814-3524 and an email from DPH.communications@illinois.gov. They’ll have a week to claim prizes.

But don’t get your hopes up. More than 7.5 million Illinoisans have gotten a shot, meaning you’re about four times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be one of Thursday’s lucky winners. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the average American has a 1-in-500,000 chance of being zapped from the heavens sometime this year.

With about 70% of eligible residents already getting a shot, fewer shots are going into arms each day. After a long holiday weekend, the state is averaging just 17,771 vaccinations per day over the past week, the lowest that rate has plunged since January, when vaccine supply — not demand — was desperately low.

Illinois’ daily shot average was 42,153 on June 17 when Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the lottery program that mirrors those held in several other states.

Since then, that rate briefly jumped past 44,000 — with more than 96,000 shots given June 26, the most in over a month — but overall it’s still on a sharp downward trend.

COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by day

Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health


Graph not displaying properly? Click here.

“We need everybody to get vaccinated,” Pritzker said Tuesday. “Getting 70% of our adult population vaccinated is a big milestone, but it’s not enough.”

As for the next lottery drawings:

  • Three $100,000 cash prize winners each will be drawn July 12, July 19, July 26, Aug. 2, Aug. 9 and Aug. 16
  • Twenty-two $100,000 cash prize winners will be drawn Aug. 12
  • Two $1 million cash prize winners will be drawn Aug. 26
  • Seventeen $150,000 scholarship winners will be drawn Aug. 26.

The lottery is funded by federal COVID-19 relief money.


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