State residents eligible for $50K

By just getting your COVID-19 vaccinations, California residents can be eligible for a $50,000 incentive from the State of California before the state opens on June 15.


“It’s an incentive program through the State of California meant to boost vaccinations and help safely reopen the economy,” said Sara Bosse, Madera County Public Health Department Director. “There are three components. The first is a $50 gift card for a person who is newly vaccinated after May 27 until June 15. They are prepaid gift cards and are available to the next two million people in California who get vaccinated.”


From getting vaccinations, residents are put into a pool to be one of 30 winners for $50,000.


“The second part to win is on Fridays, the state is going to have 30 winners of $50,000 each and is open to anyone who has been vaccinated until that date,” Bosse said. “They are going back into the registry of those who have been vaccinated. Everyone who has been vaccinated and is a resident of California is eligible for the $50,00 prize.”


The final component in the state’s Vax to Win campaign is eligibility for a $1.5 million cash prize for 10 people on June 15.


“It is eligible to anyone who has been vaccinated,” Bosse said. “The winners are pulled from the CAIR system, which is the immunization record system of the state. Anyone who has gotten a vaccine, their records were entered into CAIR, regardless of where you got your vaccine. Nobody needs to register for the cash prizes. You are automatically in the system.”


In summary, newly vaccinated residents will receive a $50 prepaid gift card or grocery cards and are available for the next two million people in California. Also, there will be a drawing on June 4 and 11 for 30 people to win $50,000 with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine who are 12 years of age or older. The final component is 10 residents will be selected on June 15 for a $1.5 million cash prize and all who have received at least one dose are eligible. There is no need to register.


With that in mind, the MCDPH is doing its part to get as many people vaccinated that want it.


“We’re offering vaccination events around the comment,” Bosse said. “We’re increasing the amount of events before the 15th to make it as easy as possible for Madera county residents to take advantage of the Vax to Win campaign. Clinics are offered during the day, weekend, evenings, walk ins are accepted at every clinic. People can pre-register or register on site. If people want to find available clinics or register in advance, they can go to the MyTurn website (myturn.ca.gov). They can also find more information at our website, as well. The best way to find the locations is to go directly to MyTurn. It’s duplicated on our website, but MyTurn is where you will be directed, anyway. Of course, 3-1-1 is available for any that doesn’t have internet access.”


According to Bosse, 45 percent of Madera County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccination and 36.6 percent are fully vaccinated.


“That’s exciting to see if it pushes people forward to get vaccinated,” Bosse said. “That’s the intent; it’s to get as many people vaccinated by June 15 when most of the measures will go away. There are certain limitations on a few things.”


California has set a goal of getting 75 percent of its population vaccinated by the June 15 date.


“We’re working towards that goal,” Bosse said. “The one important factor is data from the state regarding zero prevalence. It’s the measure of antibodies in people’s blood. You can get antibodies from two different ways — contracting COVID or getting a vaccine. The Central Valley, as a region is at 70 percent zero prevalence. We’re doing what the vaccination rates would suggest. We also had people who have immunity because they contracted COVID.”


Many California residents have June 15 circled on their calendars because that is when California Governor Gavin Newsom will “re-open” the state.


“On the 15th, the tiers do go away,” Bosse said. “The state will have guidances in place of best practice and how to reduce risk. There will only be a few mitigation rules in place. We are still waiting to see what that looks like. It will come from Cal OSHA and will be specifically for employers. We don’t know what that will look like.”


Requirements to wear masks and socially distance will go away; however they will still be recommended.


“It will be a recommendation to wear a mask and socially distance,” Bosse said. “There might be certain situation based on Cal OSHA guidance where masks are required. There are also conversations about what kind of requirements of masking will be for school sites. It’s for the fall they are looking at.”


Bosse also reminds residents that everybody is not on the same page with the COVID-19 pandemic and urges people to be respectful of others and their ideals.


“It’s really important for all of us to recognize that a date in the sand that everyone in the community is going to feel comfortable taking their mask off or socially distancing,” she said. “What I would encourage people to do is reduce risk of transmission by operating common sense knowledge we have of how it gets transmitted. Also, be respectful that different people will have different level of comfort. For some people, it can feel unnerving to more interaction. Give people time to transition and feel comfortable and let them make their own decision of masking and distancing.”


Even with the June 15 date approaching, data in Madera County is still trending down. The county’s positivity rate (1.3 percent) was in the yellow tier for the fourth week in a row. The county’s case rate went for 3.6 percent last week to 2.3 percent this week.


“The data is still headed in the right direction,” Bosse said. “We are still pressing forward and wanting to vaccinate as many people who would like to vaccinate. We want to make it super accessible.”


Bosse also reminds residents that testing is still available and there is a $5 gift card incentive for everyone who is tested.


“Testing is still really important,” she said. “There is still the site at the Fairgrounds and our mobile testing. You can find information on our website. Any time someone is experiencing symptoms or anyone who has been exposed to someone who has COVID should come in for testing.”


Bosse and her department is ready for the state to reopen and get to a somewhat normal.


“It’s been tough,” she said. “We are hopeful and looking forward to a future that looks a little closer to what we lived before. I’m very happy with where we’re at in our case rate. We’ll continue to press on.”