Ask Us: Are veterans who received shots at Salisbury VA eligible for COVID-19 vaccine lottery?

Published 2:31 pm Monday, July 19, 2021

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to askus@salisburypost.com.

SALISBURY — Veterans who received their COVID-19 vaccine at the Salisbury VA Medical Center are among those eligible for the state’s lottery system.

Because veterans who received shots at Veterans Administration facilities had for months been excluded from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ vaccination totals, a reader asked whether they were eligible for the state’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery. So far, the state has picked four winners — adults from Winston-Salem and Pineville who will receive a $1 million prize and juveniles from Wilmington and Greensboro who won college scholarships.

Initial rules for the program said people vaccinated by the VA may not be eligible because of a data access issue, but that changed the week before the first drawing. NCDHHS on June 15 announced North Carolinians vaccinated by the Veterans Administration, which includes the Salisbury VA, and the Tribal Health Program would be included in the lottery drawings.

“Thanks to our partners across the state, we are now able to include veterans vaccinated through the VA and American Indians vaccinated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said in a news release.

The state doesn’t provide a way for people to double check that they’re included in the drawing. People who received a shot in North Carolina and live in another state are not eligible. The same is true for people who received a shot in another state and live in North Carolina.

There are two drawings left for cash and scholarship prizes. North Carolinians 18 and older who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are automatically entered for the $1 million cash prize. Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are automatically entered into four drawings to win $125,000 towards post-secondary education. The $125,000 is awarded in the form of a NC 529 account — a tax-advantaged plan that can be opened for anyone to save for education. People who received the first dose of a vaccination after June 10 receive two entries into the drawing for their age group.

The prizes are wholly funded by coronavirus relief money.

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