Boston, MA

Gov. Baker Announced the First Lucky Winners of State’s VaxMillions Giveaway

Genius Turner

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Perhaps nothing makes a human smile wider than hearing, "You've just won a million dollars."(David Stanley/Flickr)

Two lucky Massachusetts residents received vaccine shots followed by some life-changing money

Boston, MA — "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." Forrest Gump's famed line strikes at the heart of why optimists, on average, are said to live longer than pessimists.

When optimism inspired Daniela Maldonado of Chelsea and Darrell Washington of Weymouth both to get vaccinated, little did they know what lay in store within their life's "box of chocolates."

Before Gov. Baker announced the lottery-style sweepstakes for fully vaccinated residents, to incentivize more Bay Staters to get vaccinated, Washington and Maldonado both had already done the right thing. In other words, given that both got vaccinated before they even became eligible to win the giveaway, perhaps this marks another instance of why "the early bird catches the worm."

Washington, a 63-year-old Blue Cross Blue Shield case manager, won the first $1 million cash prize. So dream-like was it all, for Washington, that he couldn't help but Google the name of the DPH official who contacted him this week. Initially, Washington suspected it might be spam.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God. This is real,' ” he said. “I was just hesitant and I responded back, and as the days went on, things started happening, and I’m like ‘OK… maybe this is real.' ”

As for the 15-year-old Chelsea resident Maldonado, she won the giveaway’s first $300,000 scholarship grant. “I thought it was a scam!” she said while laughing.

In weeks to come, a handful of other fully vaccinated Bay Staters are set to experience a dream-like response to winning the giveaway. Four additional weekly announcements are scheduled. Each is set to award $1 million cash prizes to fully vaccinated residents — who are at least 18 years old — and four $300,000 scholarship grants will be awarded to those between the ages of 12 and 17.

According to officials, of the state's 4.3 million vaccinated residents — 2 million have signed up for the contest. Thursday marks the final day that vaccinated residents can register to be eligible for the remaining VaxMillions drawings.

The second round of winners will be announced next week.

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