Retired Bossier City teacher wins Louisiana's $1 million COVID vaccine lottery grand prize

Greg Hilburn
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
First lady Donna Edwards and Gov. John Bel Edwards unveil a giant check during a news conference June 17 at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge.  They  announced that Louisiana will participate in a lottery, giving cash prizes and scholarships to residents who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Janet Mann, a retired school teacher from Bossier City, has won Louisiana's $1 million grand prize in the state's COVID-19 vaccine lottery designed as an incentive to boost vaccination rates.

Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Health announced the $1 million grand prize cash winner and the last five $100,000 college scholarship winners of the Shot At A Million campaign Friday.

"I'm still in shock," Mann said on a phone call with Edwards. "It's just such a blessing. It's great for me and my family."

Mann had been notified before Edwards' call, but said, "Thanks you for calling because now I can believe it's real."

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"Oh, it's real," the governor said.

The final $100,000 scholarship winners are: Emily Guillet, 13, Baton Rouge; Gavin Harrington, 13, Rosedale; MacKenzie Rigdon, 15,  Metairie; Emma Fisackerly, 16, New Orleans; and Jackson Page, 17, New Orleans.

Vaccinated adults 18 and older were eligible to win four $100,000 cash prizes and the $1 million grand prize, while those ages 12-17 were eligible to win nine $100,000 scholarships.

“Every winner is a shining example of Louisianans doing their part to help put this pandemic behind us, and I could not be more proud of or happy for all of them, from our first to our very last,” Edwards said. “Our state is in a tough fight against this fourth surge of COVID-19, and we need our people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"We know from countless hospital and medical staff across our state that the delta variant is having a serious impact throughout all of our communities on adults and children alike. Getting the vaccine is easy and free, and more than 50 percent of Louisianans already have gotten one shot. Many more vaccinations coupled with masks are the winning ticket for all of us to return to a normal way of living. I know we can do it. We’ve done it before, and I have every confidence that we will do it again.” 

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The Shot At A Million campaign started June 21 and culminated on July 31 with a total of 902,758 people who registered for the lottery, which was funded by federal COVID relief money. There were a total of 14 winners, five cash and nine scholarship winners. Overall awards total $2.3 million.

“This campaign offered a fun incentive for people who decided to get the shot, and a way for us to continue to positively reinforce the benefits of vaccines throughout Louisiana," said Dr. Joseph Kanter, the state's public health officer. “This campaign offered a fun incentive for people who decided to get the shot, and a way for us to continue to positively reinforce the benefits of vaccines throughout Louisiana. The vaccines are our most effective tool in beating COVID-19, and when we do, we will all be winners.”

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.