Perfect March Madness bracket? Struck by lightning? How do odds for NC’s vaccine lottery compare

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – What are the odds of winning North Carolina’s $1 million “Summer Cash” vaccine lottery drawing?

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday a series of cash drawings for North Carolina residents who get the COVID-19 vaccine. There will be four drawings of $1 million for adults who get vaccinated. Children ages 12-17 who have gotten at least one shot are automatically entered into four drawings to pay $125,000 for a college education at a school of their choice. 

The first drawing will occur June 23 and will happen every two weeks until the final drawing on Aug. 4. 

“I’m really excited, I hope that I win,” said Nery Heredia, who said she would fix her house, take a vacation and pay off her car if she won.

How likely are you to win? You’re more likely to be hit by lightning than to have your name drawn. The odds are still better than the 1 in 11,688,054 chance of picking the perfect numbers to win a $1 million Powerball prize.

The odds of winning the $1 million for getting vaccinated are also much better than the 1 in 120.2 billion odds of filling out a perfect March Madness bracket.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” said Nahja Reid, who is fully vaccinated.

There are about 2.5 million adults in the state who are still unvaccinated. The prize drawings aren’t enough to entice everyone to get the shot.

“A lottery isn’t going to change how I feel about the COVID vaccine,” said Keisha Leak, who said she has concerns over the rare side effects and limited data of the COVID-19 vaccines. “I think the COVID-19 vaccine needs to change how people are feeling and make us feel a little bit more comfortable.”

Jimmy May plays the lottery twice a day. He said a $1 million prize won’t persuade him to get the shot.

“I’m not gonna get a vaccine,” May said. “The VA calls me three times a week and wants to know why I haven’t been to get it. If I haven’t been by now, I’m not gonna get it.”

Based on the latest vaccine data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the odds children ages 12-17 have of winning a cash scholarship are 1 in 41,421. As more people get vaccinated, the odds of winning will become less favorable.

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