Latest VaxMillions winners named

It’s questionable whether lottery is upping vaccinations

MASSACHUSETTS HAS another million-dollar winner.  

Donna McNulty of Billerica, a longtime employee of a small publishing and software company, is the second winner of a $1 million prize from the state’s VaxMillions lottery. 

According to a press release from the governor’s office, McNulty plans to use her winnings to prepare for her retirement in December 2022. She said she got the vaccine to protect herself and a friend who is high-risk for COVID-19 due to health issues. 

In a brief phone interview, McNulty said she is 67 years old and got her two doses in March and April. She had planned to retire even before she won the money.  

“It’s pretty exciting,” McNulty said. “We’re very happy.” 

Dylan Barron of Norwood, a student going into his junior year at Blue Hills Regional Technical School, won this week’s $300,000 college scholarship.  

Barron has not yet decided what school he will attend after graduation. He said he got vaccinated to protect himself, his friends, and family, and anyone he comes into contact with.  

Massachusetts established the lottery as a way to encourage state residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 – although, like McNulty, both winners last week got the vaccine before the lottery was announced.  

It is questionable whether the lottery, which is costing the state $10 million, has actually incentivized people to get their shots. Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who oversees the lottery, said last week that she hoped the excitement of having the first winners would encourage people to get vaccinated and then sign up for a drawing.  

So far, 2.4 million people have signed up for the lottery, compared to 2.3 million people who had registered as of last week. Since state officials announced last week’s winners, another 35,000 residents have gotten a first dose of the vaccine and 40,000 have become fully vaccinated. 

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Shira Schoenberg

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

The state has 4.3 million fully vaccinated residents.  

Gov. Charlie Baker, who left Thursday for a vacation in California, did not hold an in-person event with the latest winners of this week’s drawing. Instead, he ,announced the names via a press release.  

There will be three more weekly drawings. The names are selected Monday and announced publicly on Thursday. Someone must be a legal resident of Massachusetts, fully vaccinated, and have gotten their shots in Massachusetts to be eligible.