Winston-Salem teacher, Wilmington 14-year-old first N.C. vaccine lottery winners

State health Sec. Dr. Mandy Cohen (left), Vania Bazan Martinez, Gov. Roy Cooper, Shelly Wyramon at a news conference in Raleigh on June 28, 2021. [images courtesy NCDPS]

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen announced the first winners of the state’s Your Shot at A Million Summer Cash Drawing and Summer Cash 4 College drawings in Raleigh today.

Shelly Wyramon, of Winston-Salem, received a $1 million prize as the state’s first Your Shot at A Million Summer Cash Drawing. Fourteen-year-old Vania Bazan Martinez, a high school freshman in Wilmington won a $125,000 scholarship toward a college education.

“I congratulate today’s winners for both their success in the cash drawing and for protecting themselves and their families from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated,” said Governor Cooper. “There are 3 more million dollar and college scholarship drawings and getting your shot now gets you entered twice for each drawing. Regardless, everyone is the winner with a safe and effective vaccine that protects you and your loved ones.”

“The Your Shot at A Million and Cash 4 College drawings add another reward to the many that come with getting a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Secretary Cohen. “I want to personally thank our drawing winners for getting their shot against COVID-19. They are going to inspire other people to do the same.”

For Wyramon, it was an easy decision for her and her family to get vaccinated.

“We have elderly parents and wanted to protect their health and safety as well as our own and others from COVID-19,” said Wyramon.

Wyramon was scheduling her teenage daughter’s vaccination appointment when she learned she won the drawing.

“I couldn’t believe we won until I saw Secretary Cohen on our computer screen congratulating us. I can’t put into words what that means for our family.”

For Martinez, her COVID-19 vaccine is life changing in more ways than one.

She started a summer job to save for college.

“I knew it would be hard for my mom to pay for me to go to college, so I started saving the money I make at my summer job,” said Martinez. “Now I know for sure I’ll have money to pay for college and this means a lot to my mom and me.”

The recent loss of loved ones from COVID-19 and seeing others struggle as they recover from the virus moved Martinez to get vaccinated soon after she became eligible.

“I saw information about teens being eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine at Independence Mall and went home to research it more,” said Martinez. “I went back to the mall with my mom because I wanted to get my shot and I convinced her to get vaccinated too.

North Carolinians 18 and over who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are automatically entered into four drawings for a chance to win a $1 million cash prize. Those vaccinated on or after June 10 are entered twice for each drawing, increasing the chance of winning for the newly vaccinated. In addition, four North Carolinians 12-17 will win a $125,000 529 account for post-secondary education. Some restrictions apply.

Drawings take place every other week on Wednesdays. New entries close at midnight on the Sunday prior to the Wednesday drawing. Winners are verified and then announced.

Your Shot at A Million Summer Cash, along with the Summer Cash 4 College and $25 Summer Card, are part of the state’s Bringing Summer Back get-out-the-vaccine campaign to increase awareness of the availability and safety of COVID-19 vaccines and encourage North Carolinians to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they can.

Executive Order 219, which has concurrence from the North Carolina Council of State, authorizes the drawings.

Drawings are held every other week from June 23 to August 4. The next drawing will occur on July 7 and the winner will be announced the following week.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.