Submitted by EBCI Public Health and Human Services
This FAQ provides a summary of frequently asked questions about the Vaccination Lottery (“Vax Cash”) authorized by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (“EBCI”) and administered through the Tribe’s Public Health and Human Services Division (“PHHS”) to encourage vaccination against COVID-19. The promotion will be provided under the terms in the official rules (“Rules”) established by EBCI in consultation with PHHS. The rules are subject to change, and PHHS & EBCI have the right to modify, extend, or discontinue the promotion at any time.
What is the purpose of the promotion?
While the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has made great progress in its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, the Tribe’s public health experts have advised that more progress on vaccination against COVID-19 is still needed in order to obtain levels of immunity necessary to protect the public health of all enrolled members and surrounding community members. This promotion is intended to encourage vaccination against COVID-19 and to protect the enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and surrounding community members by providing an incentive to get vaccinated. Behavioral health experts have indicated that incentive programs, such as this promotion, can encourage individuals to get vaccinated against COVID-19. An increase in COVID-19 vaccinations will protect people from serious illness and death, assist local health departments in accomplishing their mission of vaccinating the greatest number of individuals possible, and reduce burdens on providers in rural areas, where vaccination rates have been disproportionately low.
What are the prizes?
Fifty (50) randomized drawings for $13,333.33 each will take place on a weekly basis for five (5) weeks (each, a gross amount of the “Cash Prize”), for a total value of $3,333,332.50 for all weekly Cash Prizes. Federal Income Taxes will be withheld and remitted to the IRS on the winner’s behalf with the net cash prize for each weekly drawing winner totaling the Cash Prize of $10,000.00. There will be two additional drawings to be held during the first and the fifth week for $66,666.67 each for a total gross value of $133,333.34 for the two additional drawings. Federal Income Taxes will be withheld and remitted to the IRS on the winner’s behalf with the net Cash Prize for each of the two additional drawings totaling $50,000 each.
When do the drawings for prizes start?
The first weekly drawing of fifty-one (51) cash prizes (50 $10,000 winners and 1 $50,000 winner) will be conducted Tuesday, Oct. 12 with subsequent weekly drawings of fifty (50) winners occurring weekly thereafter on Tuesdays with the final weekly drawing of fifty-one (51) winners (50 $10,000 winners and 1 $50,000 winner) to be conducted on Tuesday, Nov. 9. Dates are subject to change.
How do the Minor Winners Prizes work?
For prize winners 12-17 years of age, the winner will have the Cash Prize placed in a “minors vaccine lottery account” managed by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and shall be eligible to withdraw the funds upon attaining the age of eighteen (18) years. The prize winner shall be provided with an annual statement of the account until the cash prize is withdrawn.
Do I have to make a purchase to enter the promotion?
No. No purchase or payment is necessary to win. COVID-19 vaccines are free to any individual, regardless of insurance status. No action is needed by eligible entrants to enter; eligible entrants are automatically enrolled into the Vax Cash drawings.
Who is eligible to participate in the cash drawings?
The eligibility requirements are as follows:
- The individual received a vaccination provided by IHS and was administered by the Cherokee Indian Health System, either (a) a dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or (b) the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
- PHHS received and accepted as valid the records of individuals vaccination and contact information by 11:59:59pm EDT on the Sunday before the drawing.
- An individual is a living person who, at the time of the vaccination, was at least twelve (12) years of age.
- The individual is not removed from eligibility under any of the terms in the Rules.
Is anyone else ineligible from claiming a prize in this promotion?
Yes. The following individuals are ineligible to claim a prize in this promotion:
- Deceased individuals. If the entrant is deceased, the right to receive the prize is forfeited.
- Any employee or immediate family member associated with Ray, Bumgarner, Kingshill & Associates, CPA, and Bakertilly US, LLP who are certifying and drawing the randomly generated numbers assigned to each eligible person in the PHHS vaccine database.
What is the process for drawings and receiving awards?
Please see the rules for details regarding the process for the drawings and receiving the award.
Are the drawings random and what are the odds of winning?
Yes, the drawings are randomized. The provisional winners of the drawings will be randomly selected from among all eligible entries. The odds of winning are dependent upon the total number of eligible entries, at the time of each drawing.
Individuals receive one (1) entry into the promotion if, after December 13, 2020, they received either (a) a dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or (b) the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
No additional entries into the promotion are provided for the second dose in the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series.
Can I give my prize to someone else?
No. A prize winner may not assign or transfer the Prize before it is awarded or received.
Are people vaccinated prior to the promotion eligible?
Yes. Those that have been vaccinated before the promotion starts are eligible. Individuals vaccinated before the start of the promotion receive one (1) entry. Individuals vaccinated on or after December 13, 2020, will receive one (1) entry.
What is the notification protocol for drawing winners?
PHHS shall attempt to contact each provisional winner of a prize via the telephone, and/or address provided by that person when he or she was vaccinated. The provisional winner forfeits the prize if PHHS is unable to contact him or her, or if the provisional winner fails to claim within the specified period (details regarding deadlines are provided below). The degree of effort used to contact a provisional winner shall be at the sole discretion of PHHS.
What paperwork do I have to fill out to claim a prize and is there a deadline?
Yes. There are deadlines for claiming prizes. The provisional winner forfeits the prize if PHHS is unable to contact him or her, or if the provisional winner (1) fails to respond verbally or in writing that he or she intends to claim the prize by the close of business (5:00 pm EDT) on the second business day following PHHS’s first attempt to contact the provisional winner, or
(2) fails to submit consent and claim forms by the close of business on the business day following provisional winner providing his or her intent to claim the prize (for example purposes only, if the drawing was held on a Wednesday and PHHS first attempted to contact the provisional winner on Thursday, the provisional winner must provide verbal or written intent to claim the prize by 5:00 pm EDT on the following Monday and, if he or she provides the intent on Monday, he or she must submit the consent and claims form by 5:00 pm EDT on Tuesday). The degree of effort used to contact a prize winner shall be at the sole discretion of PHHS.
Do I need a social security number or tax identification number to participate in the promotion?
Yes, prize winners will need to have a social security number in order to participate in the promotion. The prize winner must also be prepared to complete a W-9 form and be prepared to verify their identity, as well as a completed Claims and Consent Form.
What if I don’t want to participate in the promotion? What if I don’t want to receive the prize?
Provisional winners contacted by PHHS may decline the prize if selected. Winners may refuse the prize. If a winner declines a prize or fails to claim a prize within the specified period stated above, the winner permanently loses all right to claim or receive the prize.
How will PHHS protect my personal data?
PHHS maintains the records and personal data of those who have had COVID-19 vaccinations issued by HIS and administered by the Cherokee Indian Health System within a secure computer system. Personal data will be retained by PHHS. PHHS will only share personal information for the purpose of awarding the prize, after obtaining the consent of the prize winner.
Can I remain anonymous if I win?
No. Prize winners must consent to use their name, image, and likeness by PHHS and the EBCI for publicity purposes as a condition of receiving the prize. Prize winners must also consent to have their name, address, and other identifying information be shared among state agencies as necessary to award the prize.
By accepting a Prize in this Promotion, a person must agree to release and hold harmless the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, PHHS, and its employees, officers, and directors from and against any loss, claim, damage, suit, or injury arising out of or relating to the Promotion or any action taken pursuant to the Rules.
Are the winnings subject to taxes or other withholdings?
Yes. All cash prizes are subject to mandatory minimum federal and state tax (if applicable) withholdings. Prize winners will be responsible for reporting and paying any federal and state taxes due. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued by the Tribe to each Cash Prize winner. Any taxes resulting from the receipt of the Prize are the responsibility of the winner.
How is the Tribe funding this promotion?
No Tribal dollars were used to execute this lottery project.
If I get multiple COVID-19 vaccines, can I receive multiple entries to win?
No. Individuals will be automatically enrolled in the drawing based on receiving a dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals will not receive additional entries if they receive an additional COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective at their recommended doses. Receiving an extra COVID-19 vaccine does is not clinically recommended. An extra dose may cause side effects and has not been studied.