Manitoba is hopeful to push residents to take a COVID-19 vaccine with a new lottery that is offering $2 million in cash and scholarships as potential prizes, Premier Brian Pallister announced on Wednesday.
“Vaccination is the fastest way to overcome COVID-19 and safely restore our services and activities,” Premier Pallister said. “Urgency is important. We need Manitobans to get vaccinated to protect each other and protect our health-care system. The sooner we get vaccinated, the sooner we can get our lives back. This lottery gives Manitobans even more reasons to roll up their sleeves — not once, but twice.”
Pallister's government plans to run two lottery draws over the summer. Manitobans aged 12 and up who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on or before August 2 will be eligible for the first draw, while those who are fully vaccinated on or before September 6 will have a chance to win the second draw.
The prizes that the province plans to give out include:
- 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.
As for how the province intends to fund these rewards for vaccine recipients, Premier Pallister explained that the funds would be coming from “your two year old.” Responding to a question during a press conference, the premier explained that the province was borrowing money in an effort to end the pandemic.
“We just announced the largest deficit in Manitoba history here a few weeks ago,” the premier said. “So let's be honest, we've got to get out of this pandemic and the faster we do that the better. That's why we're after getting people vaccinated as quick as they can.”