Mother of 3 is NC’s first $1M vaccine lottery winner

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gov. Roy Cooper announced a mother of three from Winston-Salem is the state’s first $1 million vaccine lottery winner.

Shelly Wyramon, who works as a teacher, was present Monday when Cooper announced she had won.

The governor said Wyramon, didn’t believe she had won when the state health department called her. It was only when she got on a video call with NCDHHS Sec. Mandy Cohen when she finally believe it.

“Obviously I was overwhelmed. Not believing it – I still don’t believe it,” she said. “Who believe you’re doing to win $1 million?”

Wyramon, said her family is still in shock.

Cooper joked that Wyramon,’s children’s allowance may go up now.

Wyramon, said she and her husband were vaccinated to help protect their aging parents.

“I got vaccinated because I wanted to be able to spend more time with my family, extended family, and honestly, it terrified me I might spread that,” she said.

Vania Martinez, 14, was also announced as the first to win $125,000 for post-secondary education at a university of her choice.

“I thought it was a total lie. I didn’t believe it,” said Martinez. “It was exciting, but at the same time crazy.”

The 14-year-old from Wilmington said she got the vaccine because she had loved ones die from COVID-19.

Winners under the age of 18 get a $125,000 scholarship.

“I’m still processing it, still not there,” she said.

Martinez started working at a restaurant to save up to go to North Carolina State University.

This scholarship will now allow her to put her money toward a different goal.

“Save up for a car, you know,” said Martinez.

The winners were chosen with a random number generator, and three more drawings will be held through early August.

CBS 17’s Bridget Chapman asked Cohen if the lottery has helped increase the number of North Carolinians being vaccinated.

“In other states that first did this, it was earlier on in our vaccine efforts, so I think they did see a larger bump,” said Cohen.

With the state not on track to meet the national goal of 70 percent vaccinated by July 4th, they hope the first winners’ faces and their stories help change some minds.

“I think everybody should get vaccinated, so this ends quick,” said Martinez.

Anyone age 18 or older who has received at least one dose of the vaccine is automatically entered to win. Individuals under 18 are entered to win $125,000 for post-secondary education.

People who got their shot on or after June 10 will be entered twice.

Winners for the $4 Million Summer Cash and Summer Cash 4 College Drawings will be drawn every other Wednesday through August 4.

Each COVID-19 vaccination record in the state has been assigned a unique number. The North Carolina Education Lottery will use a randomized number generator to select the winning number and 20 alternate winning numbers for each drawing.

If you’re a winner, you will be called or emailed. You then have 48 hours to accept the prize. The winner will be posted to this website. You can also click that link to find out more information on the lottery.

The vaccine payments are coming from the North Carolina Department of Health And Human Services, but it needed the lottery to help because that agency has the equipment, expertise and experience in determining lottery winners. 

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