Four New Mexicans, including one from Las Cruces, to share initial $1 million vaccination sweepstakes

From Staff Reports
Las Cruces Sun-News
Socorro Zuniga receives a $100 incentive the New Mexico Department of Health offers for getting a vaccine shot at a vaccination event at the Las Cruces Convention Center in Las Cruces on Wednesday, June 16, 2021

LAS CRUCES – A resident of Las Cruces is one of four $250,000 winners in the state's Vax 2 the Max Sweepstakes, a cash sweepstakes funded by federal stimulus and intended to incentivize COVID-19 vaccinations.

The state on Friday picked the first four prize winners of the sweepstakes and announced they hail from Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Ruidoso.

The New Mexico Department of Health is verifying the identity, eligibility and vaccination status of each prospective awardee, according to a news release, before declaring them official prize winners. 

The prospective winners will have three business days to come forward after being contacted by NMDOH, the release states.

More:Vaccine supplies eclipse demand in New Mexico

This is the first of five planned drawings for $250,000 and a final drawing for $5 million.

Beginning this week and each week in July, the Department of Health will draw one $250,000 winner from each region of the state — northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast. The one $5 million winner will be chosen Aug. 7 from all eligible statewide applicants.

The state reports 460,587 vaccinated New Mexicans opted in to the sweepstakes for the first drawing. Broken down by region: 

  • Northwest: 276,405 entrants
  • Northeast: 85,509 entrants
  • Southwest: 68,371 entrants
  • Southeast: 30,302 entrants

Entries that didn't win will be carried over to each successive drawing, the release states.

Vaccinated New Mexicans can opt in for future drawings at Deadline to opt in is 6 p.m. the night before each drawing. 

The next $1 million drawing ($250,000 winners in each of the four regions) is scheduled for July 2, followed by drawings on July 16, July 23 and July 30.

More:New Mexico drops mask mandate for fully vaccinated youth athletes

Earlier Friday, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the state will essentially reopen July 1, retiring restrictions on mass gatherings and business activity that have been in place since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the state last year. That's because 60 percent of the state's residents are expected to be fully vaccinated by that date.

New Mexico officials have attributed a rise in vaccinations to cash incentives, including the Vax 2 the Max sweepstakes and $100 cash payments this week in a final push to meet the governor's 60 percent goal.