Lifelong Frederick resident Jennifer LeBaron became one of the winners in Maryland’s vaccination lottery earlier this month, when she was selected to win a $40,000 prize.
LeBaron, a 24-year-old nurse, didn’t believe it when she was first notified of her win on June 19, according to a Monday press release from the Maryland Lottery. She claimed her prize a week later, on June 25.
“It took me a few days to reply after receiving the initial call because I just didn’t believe it,” LeBaron told lottery officials while claiming her prize, according to the release. “Then, a co-worker of mine said it was the real thing and that I should call back.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the “VaxCash Promotion” on May 20 as a collaboration between the Maryland Lottery and the state health department, aimed at incentivizing unvaccinated Marylanders to get the shot, while rewarding those who already have done so. All Maryland residents 18 years of age and older who have been vaccinated at a nonfederal facility in the state were automatically entered into daily drawings held through July 4.
Until July 3, one winner will receive a $40,000 prize every day. The drawing will culminate on the Fourth of July, when one winner will receive a $400,000 prize.
The unexpected windfall came at a fortunate time for LeBaron, who is currently planning a wedding with her fiancé. She would also like to donate some of her winnings and save for a vacation, according to the release.
While working at a hospital, LeBaron saw firsthand the way COVID-19 affects people. She was vaccinated earlier this year.
“I chose to get vaccinated to protect those with compromised immune systems and older people,” she said. “I didn’t really do it for myself. I was thinking about other people.”