At least two winners in the state’s first week of COVID-19 vaccination sweepstakes drawings are from the Reno area. The first of eight Vax Nevada Days drawings was July 8, awarding a share of $5 million in prizes to more than 200 people.
Zarin U. from Reno was awarded a $5,000 college savings plan and Lori B. from Washoe Valley won $25,000 cash. Winners named from other areas of the state largely hailed from Las Vegas, however only 11 of the winning names were announced. Other winners chose not to have their names revealed and still more had yet to claim their prizes.
The night’s biggest winner was Elizabeth A., an educator from North Las Vegas, who won $250,000. When she accepted her prize she said, “This is for my classroom.”
Vax Nevada Days was launched by Gov. Steve Sisolak, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and Immunize Nevada in mid-June to encourage Nevada residents to initiate and complete their COVID-19 vaccine process. Drawings are planned for each Thursday through Aug. 26.
“Ensuring that as many eligible Nevadans as possible get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is critical in our mission to protect our communities and our State,” Sisolak said at the time. “It’s how we avoid ever again experiencing what we went through in the last year with COVID-19.”
Despite the campaign and additional vaccination efforts, the governor’s Nevada Health Response group, which has managed the state’s pandemic response, resumed weekly briefings on Thursday amid a new spike in COVID-19 cases. That spike is largely driven by new cases in Clark County, and more than half of the state’s new cases are the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus.
Candice McDaniel, deputy administrator of the Department of Health and Human Service’s Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, said the vast majority of those hospitalized have been unvaccinated. She noted also that, nationwide, 99% of COVID-19-related deaths have been among the unvaccinated, underscoring the importance of getting more Nevadans protected against the virus.
Gov. Sisolak last week said he was requesting additional assistance from the federal government to increase the number of Nevadans vaccinated. He also said health officials would be adding several new approaches to vaccination including more mobile units and workplace programs.
Those who’ve yet to be vaccinated still have time to become eligible for Vax Nevada Days drawings. To be eligible to win, Nevadans must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Names are automatically added to the drawing after the first dose is received. Officials note that with drawings happening for the next seven weeks, the earlier Nevadans are vaccinated the more chances they’ll have to win.
The July 8 drawing was livestreamed on YouTube and available to watch on Nevada Health Response’s YouTube channel. The next drawing is July 15.
Information on the COVID-19 vaccine can be found at nvcovidfighter.org or by calling 1-800-401-0946.
Kristen Hackbarth is a freelance editor and communications professional with 20 years’ experience working in communications in northern Nevada. Kristen graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in photography and minor in journalism and has a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. In her free time, she is a volunteer backpacking guide along the Tahoe Rim Trail, an avid home cook and baker, cyclist, wife and stepmom.