Premier Jason Kenney said a $3 million COVID-19 vaccine raffle was a good investment to encourage hesitant Albertans to get vaccinated.
The “Open for Summer” vaccine lottery, first announced on Saturday, will feature three prizes worth $1 million each. Only vaccinated Albertans will be able to win.
When interest in first doses began to wane dramatically this month, Premier Kenney said he asked his team to get creative and the lottery seemed like the perfect incentive.
“The impetus for the lottery is to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible,” Premier Kenney said during a news conference Monday.
“Every day that goes by that we have hundreds of thousands of people that are not vaccinated, it opens us up to a certain degree of risk. We had a very strong demand for first doses until about 10 days ago. And we saw it drop just right off.”
Provincial polling suggests that about 85 percent of Albertans are open to getting vaccinated, Premier Kenney said.
“There always will be some who will never get a vaccine of any kind. No fact and no plea to civic responsibility will sway them,” Premier Kenney said.
“But we also know that there are lots of people who want to get vaccinated or are thinking hard about it but they just haven’t taken the plunge yet. We really need to push hard to encourage the 15 percent who want to get vaccinated or are open to it but have not yet gotten around to it.”
In order to launch the final stage of Alberta’s three-step reopening plan by Canada Day, 70 percent of eligible Albertans must get their first dose by this Thursday, Premier Kenney said.
The province is currently 48,000 first-dose appointments away from reaching that goal.
Premier Kenney said the province has done all it can to encourage vaccinations with pop-up clinics, weekend vaccination drives and targeted vaccine deliveries in homes, care centres and remote communities.
Albertans can register online at Alberta.ca/lottery. They only need to register once. Registration for the first draw launched online Monday and will close one week after 70 percent of eligible Albertans get their first dose.
The winner of the first draw will be announced on the first day of the Stage 3 re-opening.
A second draw, to be held on August 31, will be open to Albertans who have received both shots. The final draw, also for fully vaccinated Albertans, has a tentative draw date of Sept. 30.
Additional non-cash prizes will be announced between June 14 and September 30. Draws for non-cash prizes will take place on various dates between June 14 and September 30, the province said.
Premier Kenney has said the lottery will “pay for itself” by ensuring more Albertans are protected from COVID-19.
Stage 3, which will begin two weeks after 70 percent of eligible Albertans have had at least one dose of vaccine, is expected to kick in by early July.
As of Sunday, 68.7 percent of eligible Albertans had received at least one dose of the vaccine with more than 20 percent now fully vaccinated.
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