SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A Vista 17-year-old resident who won $50,000 from California's vaccine incentive program said she and her family couldn't believe it when they received a phone call from the state.
"They called my mom, and my mom came in and said, 'Nancy, you won't believe it.' And we didn't believe it at the beginning," Nancy Gutierrez said.
After a few more phone calls to iron out the details, Gutierrez said they were convinced.
Gutierrez was one of three San Diego County winners last week on California's "Vax for the Win" program to encourage residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Since she is under 18, the prize money will be placed into a savings account until she turns 18.
During a Q&A with Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday during this week's drawing, Gutierrez said she would encourage everyone to get the vaccine.
When she got the opportunity to get the vaccine, she said she quickly signed herself and her parents up.
"When I found out the vaccines were available, I was really excited because it means I get to have more liberty to go outside," Gutierrez said. "I booked the appointments for my parents and we went during the month of May."
Gutierrez said her father works in landscaping and her mother has spent time at home helping her and her two younger brothers with virtual school during the pandemic. She said she hopes to go to college after she finishes high school and is considering a major in business.
She added that most of her friends have received the vaccine.
"I think most of us want life to go back to normal and getting the vaccine would definitely help that ... I would encourage everyone to get the vaccine," Gutierrez said.
Newsom said Friday that two of the three San Diego County winners last week have been contacted, including Gutierrez. The third did not respond to the state within the required time limit. A backup winning ball was pulled and that person was contacted for the third prize.
Friday, a fourth San Diego County resident won $50,000 in the state's vaccine incentive program. Anyone who gets the COVID-19 vaccine by next Tuesday will be eligible for California's $1.5 million grand prizes that will go to 10 winners.