SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Governor Gavin Newsom announced big incentives Thursday with hopes of boosting the state's vaccination numbers.
The state unveiled the largest vaccine incentive program in the country. The state is setting aside $116.5 million, $100 million of which is set aside for incentive cards to be given to the first 2 million unvaccinated people who decide to roll up their sleeves and get the shot.
"These are an opportunity to say thank you to those not only seeking to get vaccinated," said Governor Newsom in a press conference Thursday, "But also, those who have been vaccinated."
30 vaccinated Californians will also be eligible for $50,000 cash payments. Those winners will be selected on June 4th and 11th.
"I'm really hoping this is the final nudge, if you will, that will get people into a vaccine clinic" said Santa Barbara County's Public Health Director, Dr. Van De-Reynoso.
"I am thrilled the state is investing in the number of people who will be vaccinated," she said, "I'm looking forward to hopefully some Santa Barbara county residents winning some prizes as well!"
Some central coast residents aren't sold on the effectiveness of monetary incentives. Ajayvir Heir, a student at UCSB, thinks other methods should be explored as well.
"Vaccinations through incentivizing through money? Is that really going to change public opinion?" he asked when told about the new program, "I still think its like a cheap grab, ya know? It's one way to go about it, but maybe there are better ways of incentivizing vaccines."
Dr. De-Reynoso points out that monetary incentives like this already exist in healthcare.
"I think in healthcare, financial incentives have always been around. Any of us who are privately insured, our healthcare insurance company put in financial incentives if we stop smoking or if we lose weight."
The bottom line; if you want a chance at free money, you'll need to have at least your first dose by June 15th. For more information, visit the state's 'Vax for the Win' website.