CHARLES COUNTY, Md. — Tabatha Duckett couldn't believe it when she heard the news that she was the latest recipient of Maryland's $40,000 VaxCash lottery.
“I don’t even play the Lottery, so this was a huge surprise,” Duckett said.
Duckett, the winner in the June 6 drawing, explained that after her initial surprise, she was happy to have won a prize just for getting her COVID-19 vaccine. The school custodian told WUSA9 that she was unaware of the VaxCash Promotion until she received a phone call from the Maryland Department of Health while cleaning the administrative offices at La Plata High School.
But the $40,000 incentive wasn’t the reason Duckett signed up to get her COVID-19 vaccination back in March.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Duckett and her fellow custodians kept La Plata High School, along with the administrative offices, functioning. With the return to in-person instruction, the school is now full of activity, with students back in class.
“Throughout it all, we were sanitizing areas, and taking care of the folks that would be in the school, so the virus was always on our minds,” Duckett said.
Unfortunately, those fears hit even closer to home.
Duckett's husband contracted COVID-19 earlier this year and rode out severe symptoms at home.
“I didn’t want to get sick, and I wanted to protect my grandkids, my mother and my sisters too,” Duckett said – adding that she plans to use a portion of the prize money with her family.
Back on May 20, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, in partnership with the Maryland Lottery, announced that the state will give away $2 million in prizes to anyone in the state who has received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Beginning May 25, the Maryland lottery began awarding $40,000 a day for 40 days to a vaccinated Marylander. On July 4, the state will hold a grand prize drawing of $400,000 to one lucky resident.
In order to qualify, you must:
- Be a Maryland resident
- Be 18 or older
- Get vaccinated for COVID-19 in Maryland
Anyone who has already been vaccinated in Maryland is also eligible. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) will attach a string of numbers to vaccinated people in the database. Those numbers will then be put in a random number generator by the Maryland Lottery and a new winner will be chosen daily.
All winners will be notified by MDH and the funding is being provided by the Maryland Lottery's marketing fund.
"Promotions like this are just one more way we are reinforcing the importance of getting every single Marylander we can vaccinate against COVID-19," Hogan said. "If you needed one more good reason, then go out and get vaccinated for your chance to win a share of this $2 million. So remember Maryland—get your shot for a shot to win.”