The Manitoba government is offering cash prizes of $100,000 and $25,000 scholarships in an effort to persuade more people to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Anyone who has or will receive a shot will be automatically entered into two lottery draws this summer. Each draw will have seven cash winners — three in Winnipeg and one in each of the four other health regions — and 10 scholarship winners. The scholarships will be reserved for youth between 12 and 17 years old.
“I’m not a big fan of gambling and that’s why I think this draw makes such good sense,” Premier Brian Pallister said Wednesday. “Because you’re gambling with COVID if you’re not getting a vaccination.”
Vaccine uptake in Manitoba has been steady — two-thirds of people 12 and older have received at least one dose. But there are some spots where the rate is much lower, including the core area of Winnipeg and some rural regions south of the capital.
Health officials have said that while some people are hesitant about getting a vaccine, others may have barriers in terms of mobility or by being in marginalized groups.
Crown-owned Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will be in charge of the draws slated for early August and September. Work is underway on details, including how Manitobans who received a dose outside the province can ensure they qualify, the government said.
Pallister, who is to receive his second dose Thursday, won’t be eligible for the lottery. Members of the legislature won’t be either.
The Opposition New Democrats questioned how the Progressive Conservative government found nearly $2 million for prizes at a time when hospitals are struggling to keep up with COVID-19 patients, some of whom have been sent to other provinces.
“Mr. Pallister has $2 million for this lottery, but where are the $2 million to help fix our (intensive care units) in our hospitals?” NDP Leader Wab Kinew asked.
Each lottery draw will award:
• three prizes of $100,000 in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (excluding Churchill);
• a $100,000 prize in each of the remaining regional health authorities: Prairie Mountain Health, Southern Health–Santé Sud, Interlake–Eastern Regional Health Authority and Northern Regional Health Authority (including Churchill); and
• 10 draws for $25,000 scholarships for young people aged 12 to 17 across the province, for a total of $250,000.
All people who have been immunized with either a first or second dose are automatically eligible and will be entered into the lottery for a chance to win. More Info.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2021.
The Canadian Press