ARLINGTON, Texas: A Texas man has claimed a $1 million prize from a winning lottery ticket he received for free as an incentive to be inoculated with the Covid vaccine.
Gary Smith of Arlington, Texas told officials he was visiting family members in Arkansas last week when they went to a local health department office to receive their second Covid vaccinations.
Smith said he was told he was eligible to receive a $20 scratch-off lottery ticket for free, which he accepted.
He said he was in disbelief when he scratched off the $1 Million Spectacular ticket and saw that he had won the $1 million top prize.
Smith said he initially did not believe he had won, as quoted by United Press International.
He said his family members were equally surprised.
"My grandmother was the first person that I told about my win," Smith said. "We both were in total shock! She immediately wanted to leave to get herself another ticket."
Smith said he hopes to use some of his winnings to pay bills and help family members.
"I recently got engaged in April and was blessed to have the wedding and honeymoon of my dreams with my future wife," Smith said, according to United Press International.
The vaccine lottery is an ongoing incentive used to raise Arkansas' low vaccination numbers.
While Smith is the first $1 million winner, 1,428 people have claimed smaller prizes of $500 or less, according to state officials.