San Diego Teen Wins $50K Cash Incentive as Part of State's ‘Vax for the Win'

The teen said she got vaccinated because she wanted to be able to hang out with her friends and celebrate her birthday which was late last month

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California Governor Gavin Newsom took his “Vax for the Win” program on the road Friday, hosting the second drawing to give away a total of $116.5 million in Vista.

Vista is the home of one of the winners of last week’s drawing in which 15 people won $50,000 each for getting vaccinated.

Fifteen more people had their numbers drawn Friday. The winners, who can choose to remain anonymous, will be notified by local health officials.

Winners will either receive a phone call from a "State of CA CDPH" caller ID, text message, email address or be visited in person by the California Department of Public Health's district staff.

Nancy Gutierrez,17, of Vista got her call last week.

“I was getting ready to go to the movies with my friends,” the Vista High School junior recalled. “My mom came in and she was like you won’t believe it and I was like I did not believe it.”

Gutierrez said she was in shock, also nervous to share the podium today with California’s Governor.

She calmed down after meeting Newsom, who she said spoke to her like it was a “normal conversation”.

The teen said she got vaccinated because she wanted to be able to hang out with her friends and celebrate her birthday which was late last month. She also is well-aware of the pain and suffering caused by the coronavirus. Her father got it last year and Gutierrez says she knows of people in Vista who lost their lives to it.

Gutierrez will not have access to her $50,000 winnings until her 18 birthday but said with a smile that her family and friends are being really nice to her now that they know she has money in the bank.

Gutierrez is one of the 21-million Californians who’ve had at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Over the past week, Newsom said we are one of the only states in the country to see a week-over-week increase in the number of vaccines given.

Newsom praised Californians’ vaccination progress, saying 40-million vaccine doses have been administered, 15.9-million more than in any other state.

On Tuesday, June 15, the day California is set to reopen,10 more vaccinated residents will win the grand prize of $1.5-million apiece. There is still time to be eligible, he said, by getting vaccinated. 

“I would highly encourage you if you’re on the fence to go out and get vaccinated before Tuesday," Newsom said in the press conference. "If you do, you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing to win $1.5 million. Ten individuals will receive $1.5 million in a drawing we’ll be doing on Tuesday.”

Newsom said the state’s economy is also roaring back after the pandemic, saying 38% of the nation’s new jobs came from California.

When asked whether California might be moving too fast to get rid of coronavirus protections like masks and distancing, the Governor said his administration isn’t naïve about the variants making some people sick. He said he’s still concerned about the disease and reserves the right to impose restrictions again, if necessary. 

“We are gonna continue to be vigilant and mindful and you’re right, if it requires us to intervene, of course, we’re gonna intervene on the basis of public health, but also on the basis of economic opportunity.”

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