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What’s your shot at a million? 

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the creation of the Shot at a Million COVID vaccine lottery Thursday, giving eligible vaccinated Louisianans the chance to win $1 million, among 13 other cash prizes and scholarships.

Any Louisiana resident who got at least one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is eligible to enter. The prizes include: a $1 million award for those 18 and older, four $100,000 cash prizes for those 18 and older and nine $100,000 scholarships for those aged 12 to 17.

So, if the lottery drawing were held today, what are your chances of winning the seven-figure jackpot?

According to the latest vaccination data from the Louisiana Department of Health, 1,675,152 people aged 18 and older have received at least one shot. That gives each person a 1 in 1,675,152 chance at claiming the top prize.

Compare that with the odds of winning the Louisiana Lotto jackpot, which is around $1,125,000. That chance is 1 in 5,245,786, according to the Louisiana Lottery Corporation’s current estimates, making it three times more likely for a person to win the vaccine lottery jackpot today than the regular Louisiana lottery jackpot — though those are still long odds.

It would also be seven times more likely for a person to win the vaccine lottery today than to win $1 million in Powerball prize drawing. According to data from Powerball’s website, the chance of winning $1 million in its lottery is 1 in 11,688,054. The chance of winning the Powerball jackpot is 1 in 292,201,338. 

Meanwhile, the chance of winning one of the four $100,000 prizes would be 1 in 418,788. And with 39,915 teenagers in Louisiana having received at least one jab, their shot at winning one of the nine scholarships would be 1 in 4,435.

But the chances of winning the vaccine lottery are actually even better than a typical lottery when you consider that someone is guaranteed to win, according to Michelle Lacey, associate professor of mathematics at Tulane University.

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“The main difference between something like this and the way the regular lottery works is that not everyone wins in the others,” Lacey said. “Here it’s guaranteed someone will win. That’s a big incentive.”

According to Lacey, if all 1,675,152 adults in Louisiana who have at least one shot bought a Louisiana Lottery ticket, there is still a 72.2% chance no one would win at all. If the same number of people entered the Powerball, there would be an 86.6% chance no one would win the $1 million prize and a 99.4% chance no one would win the jackpot.

Still, the exact odds of winning the vaccine lottery are unclear. More people will get the vaccine between now and the last chance to register for $1 million prize on July 31, widening the pool of potential winners. Meanwhile, not everyone who has received at least one vaccine dose will complete the lottery registration process, shrinking the pool.

Yet even with the possibility of additional people entering the drawing, Lacey said the chances for winning won’t be all that different.

“People shouldn’t feel like their odds are going down the more people will play. It won’t matter that significantly,” she said.

But Edwards said everyone who registers for the lottery is already a winner. 

"Everyone starts out a winner because in order to participate, you have to get your shot," the governor said Thursday.

There will be five weekly drawings for the vaccine lottery prizes starting on July 14 with the last drawing taking place on Aug. 4. The Louisiana Lottery Corporation will handle the drawings. 

Registration for the Shot at a Million lottery begins at noon Monday. Signups can be done through the state’s website or by calling (877) 356-1511 once registration begins.

Staff writer Blake Paterson contributed to this report.


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