PHILADELPHIA, PA — At Maria de los Santos Health Center in North Philadelphia yesterday, Mayor Jim Kenney and other officials announced the winners of the first-round of the Philly Vax Sweepstakes, an initiative designed to encourage Philadelphians to get the COVID-19 vaccine for a chance to win up to $50,000 in cash prizes.
The first of three drawings was conducted earlier this week, and two Philadelphians were selected for the $50,000 top prize. Daniel Silva, age 53, of Oak Lane, shared what winning this prize means to him.
“I’m thrilled to be standing here… to receive this prize,” said Mr. Silva. “When I first received the email that I had won $50,000, I could hardly believe it. I kept reading the email over and over again. I am so grateful to have won, but I know that my health is not a game. I was initially hesitant to get the vaccine, and I even backed out of my first appointment. My doctor and partner encouraged me to set up a second appointment and I decided to just do it. I went down to Center City and got my first and second shots. I got my shots because my health is a priority, and because it’s the right thing to do. I believe that by doing the right thing, good will keep on coming. And look at where I am now!”
Mr. Silva added, “I’m on a limited income with my disability, so this prize alleviates my worries about what I’m going to do tomorrow, or if I have enough for a certain expense. My parents died when I was six and since that point, I’ve worked hard to climb the ladder and not slide down it. I know this money will help me take the next step towards that stability.”
The second winner opted to remain unnamed, but is a male in his fifties and a native of West Philadelphia. He is a father, grandfather, and an auto-mechanic.
Ten other individuals were selected for cash prizes of $1,000 or $5,000. One awardee who was selected for a $5,000 prize was unvaccinated and therefore ineligible to win.
Mayor Kenney pointed out how this week the city of Philadelphia reached a major milestone — 70 percent of Philadelphian adults have received at least one dose of vaccine. “We’re not going to be satisfied until all Philadelphians are protected from the dangers of COVID-19 and we can officially put the pandemic behind us,” he said.
“Getting everyone in Philadelphia vaccinated against COVID has been the Health Department’s goal since the winter,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “But now we’re seeing more people in lower vaccinated states catch COVID because of the Delta variant – and more people being hospitalized there because of it – so it’s even more important that everyone in Philadelphia not only get vaccinated, but make sure to get their second dose as soon as they’re able.”
“Although it is too soon to tell whether the sweepstakes has significantly boosted vaccination rates, based on the evidence that lotteries can motivate change, there is much optimism about the sweepstakes helping to get more Philadelphians vaccinated,” said Angela Duckworth, Co-Director of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative at the Wharton School and the School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania.
The next drawing will be on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, so Philadelphians have until Monday, July 5 to get vaccinated to be eligible to win. Half of the winners of each prize category will be drawn from the “selected” zip code of 19133, and the other half will be drawn from all other Philadelphia zip codes. Residents in the 19133 zip code, which includes parts of Hunting Park and West Kensington, have a roughly 60 times greater chance of winning a cash prize than residents in other Philadelphia zip codes.
Financial support for the sweepstakes and related research is being provided by the Wharton School and University of Pennsylvania’s Behavior Change for Good Initiative, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, and Flu Lab.
To sign up or learn more, visit phillyvaxsweeps.com.
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