Winners of first N.C. vaccination lottery announced

Published: Jun. 26, 2021 at 5:50 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2021 at 7:42 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The first two winners of the North Carolina vaccination lottery were announced Monday morning: Shelly Wyramon and Vania Martinez.

The first of four drawings of the state’s “Bringing Back Summer” campaign took place last Wednesday, June 23. The announcement was made at 10 a.m. Monday in Raleigh. There will be three more drawings over the summer.

Wyramon, of Winston Salem, will take home the $1 million prize, which comes to just over $702,000 after taxes. The second winner, 14-year-old Martinez, from Wilmington, won $125,000 toward post-secondary education.

“Today we have our first winners,” Gov. Roy Cooper said before announcing Wyramon and Martinez as the winners of the vaccine lottery. “I congratulate today’s winners for both their success in the cash drawing and for protecting themselves and their families from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated,” Cooper said. “There are 3 more million dollar and college scholarship drawings and getting your shot now gets you entered twice for each drawing.”

Wyramon is a mother of three and has 20 years of teaching experience. She says she got her vaccine because she wanted to spend more time with her family and with the children who she loves to teach.

Wyramon was scheduling her teen daughter’s vaccination appointment when she learned she won the drawing.

“I couldn’t believe we won until I saw Secretary Cohen on our computer screen congratulating us. I can’t put into words what that means for our family,” Wyramon said. “Please, please do get your vaccination.”

Martinez says she’s saving up for college.

“It was safe for me, it was safe for my family,” Martinez said of her decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I knew it would be hard for my mom to pay for me to go to college, so I started saving the money I make at my summer job,” Martinez said. “Now I know for sure I’ll have money to pay for college and this means a lot to my mom and me.”

Martinez now has a full scholarship to college. She still has four years of high school to complete first.

“Thank you Vania. Your work to research the vaccine and then go with your mom to get your shots is so helpful as we try to beat this pandemic and get life back to normal,” Cooper tweeted.

Both Wyramon and Martinez didn’t believe they won when they first received the call.

“When I first got the phone call I thought it was a total lie,” Martinez said.

The prize is an incentive to get more people in North Carolina vaccinated.

According to Dr. Mandy Cohen, more than 99% of covid-19 cases in North Carolina are among people who are not fully vaccinated.

Bladen County, which only has 33% of its’ population fully vaccinated, is experiencing critical virus spread and uptick in hospitalizations.

“Hopefully this is enough for people to understand these vaccines are safe and effective,” Governor Cooper said.

Since the announcement of the lottery, Dr. Cohen says vaccinations have gone from a downward trend to leveling off.

She hopes as people hear the stories of men and women winning these prizes, they will talk to their doctors and decide to get the vaccine.

Winners for the $4 Million Summer Cash and Summer Cash 4 College Drawings will be drawn every other Wednesday through Aug. 4, NCDHHS said.

North Carolinians 18 and over who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are automatically entered into the drawings for a chance to win a $1 million cash prize. Those vaccinated on or after June 10 are entered twice for each drawing, increasing the chance of winning for the newly vaccinated, state officials say.

Four North Carolinians age 12-17 will win a $125,000 529 account for post-secondary education.

“Remember everyone’s a winner when they get a vaccine,” Cooper said.

The next drawing is set for July 7. The winner will be announced the following week.

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