Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday Albertans can now register for a new online lottery meant to encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We need everyone on the fence, those who want to get a shot but have just been putting it off for a while, to get their dose now,” said Kenney, adding Albertans over the age of 18 who have gotten at least one shot can enter the Open for Summer Lottery, with the first of three $1-million draws to be held in July.
Those who are eligible can register at www.alberta.ca/lottery. They only need to enter once, but must be able to provide proof they have received their first dose to collect the winnings. To win the August and September draws, you must be able to provide proof of a second dose.
The first lottery is meant to boost uptake of first doses, which is a key marker in the province’s reopening plan but has slowed recently.
Stage 3 of that plan would see nearly all public health restrictions removed two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans aged 12 and older have received one shot.
As of Sunday, that number was 68.7 per cent. In order to have restrictions lifted by Canada Day, the province will need to hit the 70 per cent benchmark by Thursday.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro noted that those who get two doses, critical to providing the best protection against COVID-19, will have triple the chance of winning than those who only get one dose.
“We’re spending this money to ensure widespread immunity that benefits every Albertan,” said Shandro.
He added that the government is exploring other incentives for young people who are not eligible for the cash draws.
Alberta is the second province to announce lottery incentives for immunization against COVID-19. On Wednesday, Manitoba announced a lottery with $2 million in cash and scholarship prizes, with all their immunized residents automatically entered.
Several U.S. states have also launched lotteries, including Ohio, which faced some criticism when it announced its lottery program last month. But that state saw vaccine uptake rise by 47 per cent the week after the announcement.
More to come…