5 more teens awarded $50,000 scholarships as Colorado expects to reach 70% vaccination goal – The Denver Post

Five more Colorado teens on Friday were awarded $50,000 in Colorado’s vaccine scholarship lottery, as Gov. Jared Polis celebrated an important pandemic milestone while urging more young people to get inoculated against COVID-19.

These teens “made the right step to protect themselves and their families,” Polis said during an afternoon news conference.

The five winners ranged in age from 12 to 16, and come from up and down Colorado’s Front Range.

Anna Gordon, a 12-year-old from Aurora, loves anime, drawing and spending time with her puppy. She hopes to go to animation school using the money from the random drawing.

“I was afraid to get the shot but I feel safe returning to school after getting the vaccine,” she said.

Aaron Arada, a 16-year-old from Colorado Springs, immediately hit the road after getting the vaccine, traveling to the Willis Tower in Chicago and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

The lottery money will allow him to take more computer-aided design courses — “opportunities that gained me 10 steps ahead in life,” he said. “I’m very thankful.”

For Louis Arguello, a Westminster 15-year-old entering his sophomore year of high school, the money “affords me greater opportunities for formal education,” where he hopes to study art.

Meeting new people and playing soccer were big reasons why Gerardo Sierra-Nunez, of Westminster, was excited to get the vaccine.

And for Lindsay, a 13-year-old Denver resident whose last name was withheld, the draw to get vaccinated came from a desire to do things with her friends in public without wearing a mask.

“I don’t know what I will study but I’m thankful for the opportunity to choose where I want to go,” she said.

Individuals between 12 and 17 will have three more days to get vaccinated in order to be eligible for the state’s final $50,000 drawing on July 9.

Polis on Friday also announced that Colorado is on track to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of the state’s adult population receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. As of Friday, 69.94% of Coloradans 18 and up have gotten at least one dose, the governor’s office said in a news release.

“We’re looking at being one of the leading states helping end the pandemic,” the governor said.

In addition to the scholarships awards, the state last week awarded the fourth $1 million prize to a child psychologist, joining three previous winners from Boulder, Littleton and Mead.

The final million-dollar winner will be announced July 7.

More than 3.2 million people in the state are at least partially inoculated against the coronavirus, with 2.95 million fully immunized, according to state data.

All Coloradans 12 and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and all Coloradans 18 and older are eligible to receive the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Individuals still looking for vaccine sites can visit covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine/where-you-can-get-vaccinated.

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