Gov. Jared Polis said Friday that Colorado is on track to vaccinate at least 70% of its adult residents by July 4, a goal set by President Joe Biden.
“I think we’ll meet the president’s goal,” Polis told The Colorado Sun.
The announcement comes as Colorado on Friday awarded the third of five $1 million sweepstakes prizes to a person who has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine.
The latest winner is Pete Vegas, of Boulder, whom The Boulder Daily Camera called a “rice magnate.”
Vegas, who founded and owns Sage V Foods, a company that does about $100 million in sales annually, said he plans to use the majority of the winnings to create a regenerative agriculture training program. The rest of the money he will use to buy outdoor equipment, pay off personal debts and take a nice vacation.
Five more teenagers were also each awarded a $50,000 scholarship on Friday for getting vaccinated. Ten teens have received scholarships so far. Fifty will ultimately receive money for higher education.
The winners for the sweepstakes and the scholarship are chosen at random.
“The next winner could be a working mom with a family to support, it could be a business owner or a homeless person,” Polis said in a written statement. “Or the next winner could be you. Whether you’re from Trinidad or Grand Junction, the winner is chosen randomly by the Colorado Lottery Commission and everyone vaccinated is entered in the drawing.”
More than 3.1 million Coloradans had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday afternoon. More than 2.8 million people in the state are fully immunized.
Colorado’s vaccination numbers have dropped off in recent weeks despite the new vaccine sweepstakes and scholarship prizes.
Still, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, who was visiting Colorado on Friday, said Colorado is trending in the right direction.
“I wish every state was trying to move as quickly and as far as Colorado is moving these days,” Becerra said in an interview with The Sun. “It’s a good story in Colorado.”
Becerra toured a mobile vaccination clinic in Aurora as part of his stop in Colorado. He also spoke at length with Polis and members of the state’s health care team.
Nationally, the U.S. doesn’t appear to be on track to meet Biden’s 70% goal.
On Monday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will launch a program to call people 18 and older who have not yet been vaccinated to provide them with information about the COVID-19 shots and help them set up appointments.
“These outgoing calls will provide Coloradans with accurate information and help them find a free vaccination appointment in their neighborhood if they choose to be protected from