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Roy Cooper: Shot at $1 million also means defeating pandemic for good

By Roy Cooper

Hugging our friends. Cheering on our local sports team in person. Eating indoors at our favorite restaurant after months of take-out. We’re now able to do things that felt out of reach during the height of this pandemic, thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines.

The science supporting these lifesaving vaccines is overwhelming. Rigorous clinical trials have proven that the vaccines are safe and effective along with more than 140 million Americans who have been safely vaccinated. These vaccines are responsible for our declining case counts and hospitalizations, and they’re the reason North Carolina has been able to ease restrictions and get back to doing the things we love.

But we can’t pat ourselves on the back yet. Approximately 2.5 million adults in North Carolina haven’t gotten their vaccine, and the dangerous and even more contagious Delta variant of the virus is spreading across the country, mostly through unvaccinated people. The news comes as we are seeing lasting medical problems from COVID-19 like chronic pain, breathing difficulties, and extreme fatigue, even for people who did not initially have symptoms.

The time to get vaccinated is now. That’s why we’re pulling out all the stops and giving North Carolinians their shot at a million dollars if they get vaccinated.

The process is simple. Every other Wednesday beginning today, one North Carolinian will win a $1 million cash prize just for being vaccinated. Additionally, four people between the ages of 12 and 17 will win a $125,000 scholarship to any college of their choosing.

Every adult who has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, whether you got your shot in January or June, is automatically eligible to win one of the four $1 million cash prizes. You don’t have to do anything to enter other than get your shot. And there’s extra incentive for those who haven’t been vaccinated. As soon as you get your first dose, your name is automatically entered twice for each drawing from now until August 4. You can double your chance to win big and protect yourself from getting COVID.

There’s no losing. Even if you don’t win the cash prize or scholarship, you’ll still protect yourself, your family and your friends from a deadly virus.

Our state has come too far over the past few months to jeopardize our progress. So we decided to take this step after seeing it work in other states. And we believe we can see positive results here.

North Carolina is coming out of this pandemic as a state that will be stronger and more equitable than before. But to succeed, we must put this pandemic behind us. And that means more shots into arms.

Vaccinated people can do our part by talking with our loved ones about the importance of getting the vaccine and its most important side effects: joy, relief and real protection to safely see others again. If vaccinated people can talk with just five of our friends, neighbors or colleagues who are hesitant, we can make our state a safer place.

And if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, talk with your doctor. They’ll likely say the same thing Dr. Mandy Cohen and I have been saying — get the shot. It’s easy, lifesaving, and it just might make you a millionaire.

Roy Cooper is governor of North Carolina.

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