PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The first Philadelphia vaccine sweepstakes winner was introduced on Friday, and was officially awarded $50,000. The city’s cash incentive lottery will award a total of three dozen residents who get vaccinated.
There were 12 winners in the first drawing, two getting $50,000. The one introduced on Friday says he’s grateful he changed his mind about getting vaccinated.READ MORE: Sources: Missing Bucks County Woman Casey Johnston's Car Found In Northeast Philadelphia
“I’m thrilled to be standing here,” winner Daniel Silva said.
Fifty-three-year-old Daniel Silva is the first $50,000 winner of the Philly Vax Sweepstakes.
“When I first received the email that I had won $50,000 I couldn’t believe it. I kept reading the email over and over again,” Silva said.
But the Oak Lane resident says he was hesitant and backed out of his first vaccine appointment, only to be finally convinced by his doctor.
“I believe everyone needs to get the vaccine because it benefits your health and helps others,” he said.
The city’s vaccine incentive lottery will be awarding $400,000 in cash prizes to 36 residents. Twelve chosen in three drawings, winning from $1,000 to $50,000.
“We will not be satisfied until 100% of Philadelphians are protected from COVID,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Seventy percent of the city has received at least one dose, but there are large pockets of unvaccinated people, especially in minority neighborhoods.READ MORE: 1 Day, 8 Tornadoes: A Look At This Week's Severe Weather Across The Tri-State Area
With each drawing, half of the winners will come from a zip code with a high number of unvaccinated residents.
“You have nearly 60 times the chances of other Philadelphians of winning a large cash prize,” University of Pennsylvania Dr. Angela Duckworth said.
Health officials say the vaccine push is especially important now with the Delta variant spreading.
“We can anticipate based on numbers from the UK and what we’re seeing in other places in the U.S. that by mid to late July the majority, if not 90%, of cases in Philly will be Delta variant,” Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said.
Silva who moved to Philadelphia from New York seven years ago says he lives on limited disability income and will take a trip to Las Vegas with the vaccine winnings, and save the rest.
“I’m so grateful to have won but I know my health is not a game,” Silva said.
The second $50,000 winner in this first drawing wants to remain anonymous.
The next selections will happen on July 6 and July 19.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Restaurants Martha, Irwin's Upstairs To Require Proof Of COVID-19 Vaccination For Indoor Dining
For more information visit, www.PhillyVaxSweeps.com or call 1-877-642-5666 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.