Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday announced a new incentive to get Marylanders vaccinated: a lottery with a total of $20 million in cash prizes for vaccinated residents. Image via YouTube.

Maryland will award cash prizes totaling $2 million to people who get vaccinated, Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Thursday.

“Get your shot for a shot to win,” Hogan said.

The Maryland Lottery and the Maryland Department of Health have partnered on the VaxCash Promotion, with money for the incentive coming from the Maryland Lottery’s marketing fund.

The Maryland Department of Health will use vaccination records to randomly assign numbers to vaccinated individuals age 18 and older.

Using a random number generator, the health department will draw one winner per day from May 25 to July 3. They will award $40,000 each to 40 winners over those 40 days.

The lottery will culminate in a drawing for the grand prize of $400,000 on July 4.

“Everybody is a winner because if you get vaccinated, of course, that contributes to the general health of everyone,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica said.

To be eligible for the lottery, people must get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Maryland and be a Maryland resident age 18 or older. Residents age 18 or older who have already been vaccinated in Maryland are also eligible.

Registration is not necessary because the health department will be drawing winners based on vaccination records.

“Our mission is to ensure that no arm is left behind and we’re committed to leaving no stone left unturned and we’re using every resource at our disposal to achieve that goal,” Hogan said.

Marylanders are able to get vaccinated at more than 3,000 locations, including 706 pharmacies, 366 doctor’s offices, and 13 mass vaccination sites. To find a nearby location, visit

The crowds of people who had once waited in line to receive their shots at mass vaccination sites have significantly waned. The state is now shifting its attention more to mobile vaccination units, community partnerships and pop-up clinics to target populations that have yet to be vaccinated, WBAL TV reported.

As of Thursday morning, 2,675,098 Marylanders are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — either two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine or two weeks after receiving their second dose of a two-dose vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday reported that 67.3% of Marylanders age 18 or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including both one- and two-dose vaccines.

Hogan announced on May 12 that he would lift Maryland’s mask mandate once 70% of Marylanders age 18 and older received at least one vaccine dose.

But just days later, Hogan threw out that 70% goal after CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky that fully vaccinated individuals could safely participate in most activities without wearing a mask.

As of May 15, the state is no longer requiring Marylanders to wear a mask indoors or outdoors in most settings, except for in schools, health care facilities, public transportation, airports and day cares. Local jurisdictions and business owners are allowed to maintain stricter rules.

The Maryland Department of Health recommends unvaccinated individuals age 2 or older to continue wearing masks indoors and in outdoor settings where they cannot adequately physically distance from others.

The state is not requiring individuals who opt to go maskless to share proof of vaccination.

Maryland is also offering $100 to state employees who get vaccinated.

Ledo Pizza is giving away one, free, 8-inch pizza to customers who receive their first COVID-19 vaccine shot in Maryland. The promotion is valid at all Ledo Pizza locations in Maryland, and it runs through the end of June or until the company gives away 10,000 free pizzas.

Hogan on Thursday encouraged other Maryland businesses to offer their own incentives for customers who get vaccinated.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at