New York to Give Away Lottery Scratch-Offs with $5M Grand Prize to Spur COVID Shots

Posted on: May 20, 2021, 11:01h. 

Last updated on: May 20, 2021, 11:03h.

Following the lead of states like Ohio and Kentucky, New York announced on Thursday that individuals who want to get a COVID-19 vaccine can also get a chance to win a little coin.

New York COVID Lottery
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks Thursday during a press conference at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. He announced the state would give a free scratch-off lottery ticket, with a possible grand prize of $5 million, to people who get a COVID-19 vaccine at select clinics starting on Monday. (Image: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


Starting on Monday, adults can go to one of 10 vaccination sites statewide. With their shot, they’ll receive a free $20 Mega Multiplier ticket from the New York State Lottery. It’s possible one of those individuals may win a $5 million grand prize associated with the game.

The tickets, which are also available for purchase at New York Lottery retailers, have a 1-in-9 chance of winning a prize. There are 13 levels ranging from $20 to $5 million.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said during a Thursday press conference in Buffalo the purpose behind the “Vax-and-Scratch” giveaway is to encourage people on the fence about the vaccine to get one. At the 10 sites, they can get either their first Pfizer shot or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to claim their ticket.

“We’re doing a pilot,” he said. “It’s just next week. We’ll see how it goes. We’ll make decisions from there, but it is a situation where everybody wins.”

You have a one in nine chance of winning the lottery, but you get the vaccine and you win because if you get the vaccine then this (waving a mask) goes your way.”

New York began its largest reopening phase this week. The state now follows US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated. That means they no longer have to practice social distancing or wear a mask in most cases.

Ohio Sees a Spike in COVID Vaccines

There’s no guarantee a New Yorker the $5 million prize will go to someone getting a vaccine. That’s unlike Ohio, which will give five $1 million prizes away starting next week.

And since the announcement made by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on May 12, the Buckeye State has seen a big uptick in vaccinations.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, the “Vax-a-Million” campaign helped vaccinations increase by 28 percent for those 16 and older. That’s for the time period starting last Friday (May 14) and running through last Monday.

Stephanie McCloud, ODOH director, said the increase in shots shows the giveaway is effective.

“We are grateful that the drawings are helping spur Ohioans to take this important measure to protect their health, their loved ones, and their community,” she said in a statement. “Vaccines are our best tool to return to the lives we remember from before the pandemic.”

The $1 million prizes are only for Ohioans 18 and older. However, the state also has a special giveaway for younger residents, too. The state will also draw the names of five minors, once a week – like the $1 million drawings – and a vaccinated adolescent will receive a four-year full-ride scholarship to any state college or university.

The first drawings are Wednesday and will run until June 23. Vaccinated Ohioans can sign up for the drawing, run by the Ohio Lottery, at

Where to Get a Shot and a Shot at $5M in New York

The New York lottery ticket giveaway will run from Monday to next Friday, May 28, at the following locations: Medgar Evans College in Brooklyn, the Bay Eden Senior Center in The Bronx, the Javits Center in Manhattan, York College in Queens, SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island, the State Fair Expo Center in Syracuse, the New York National Guard Armory in Yonkers, the University of Buffalo, SUNY Polytechnic in Utica, and the Rochester Dome Arena.

Vaccinations will be available from 8 am to 7 pm ET. Both walk-in and appointments will be accepted.