ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – By promoting COVID-19 vaccinations, New Mexico has started handing out the top prizes of a quarter of a million dollars in the state’s Vax 2 the Max competition. After the first draw, the odds of winning the game are significantly better in areas where New Mexicans do not get vaccinated compared to communities that have rallied to get shot.
On Monday, the state released the names of the top four Vax 2 the Max winners, including Ruth Meilstrup of Santa Fe, Phillip Perez of Albuquerque, Linda Tobkin of Ruidoso and Taylor Brooke Provencio of Chamberino in DoÃ±a Ana County. The best odds of winning came from the Southeast region, where the state says about one in 30,000 people entered the $ 250,000 draw.
âThis had the effect of creating different opportunities for different parts of the state,â said Matt Bieber, communications director for the New Mexico Department of Health. “I hope this will have a motivating effect for the people of this southeast, I expect it will.”
There are at least four other $ 250,000 Vax 2 the Max designs for each of the state’s public health regions. The odds in each region will continue to change as more people get vaccinated and enter the draw.
In the first draw, residents of Bernalillo, Sandoval and a handful of other counties in the Northwest region had a one in 276,405 chance of winning. The odds of winning for the Northeast region were 1 in 85,509.
In the southern part of the state, the southwest region’s odds of winning were about one in 68,371 people. The southeast, including Chavez, Eddy and Lea counties, saw a chance out of 30,302 to win.
Most big prize lottery games can have odds of one in hundreds of millions. For example, Powerball Jackpot odds are typically around one in 292 million, while Mega Millions odds are around one in 302 million.
While the state says that while the chances of winning may be greater in the southeast, it also means the region is at a much higher risk for continued damage from COVID-19. The state is continuing efforts to determine the reason for the vaccine reluctance in the southeast and other parts of the state where immunization rates are lagging.
âAnywhere vaccination rates are lagging behind, that means these places are less protected,â Bieber said. “It means the virus has more possibilities to spread, it means the variants have more possibilities to spread, and when they spread and affect people, people are hospitalized and die.”
The first winner of Vax 2 the Max in the Southeast, Linda Tobkin of Ruidoso says she received a vaccine to protect her children and extended family. She hopes her victory will inspire others to get vaccinated.
âWe got ours pretty early on and I told everyone sign up because I never win anything and you know it was worth the wait, the dream comes true,â Tobkin said in an interview with KRQE News 13 Wednesday. “Those who hold on, all I can say is do it!” “
A retired teacher, Tobkin said she plans to pay him back with most of their earnings. She already does charitable work in education and in a local community kitchen.
The next draw for Vax 2 the Max will take place on July 2, followed by draws scheduled for July 16, 23 and 30. A $ 5 million draw will take place on August 7.