CALGARY — Getting a COVID-19 shot in Alberta will soon be your ‘shot’ at winning upwards of $1 million plus a number of other prizes.
Premier Jason Kenney took to Twitter Saturday evening to launch Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccination lottery in an effort to bolster immunization and reach the 70 per cent first dose threshold needed to move to Stage 3 of the reopening plan.
Canada Research Chair of Health Law & Policy at the University of Alberta, Timothy Caulfield, says the latest initiative for a vaccine lottery comes at a much-needed time.
“It’s crunch time and we’re really seeing a drop in interest for vaccines, especially for that first vaccine, we’re hitting the complacency and the hesitancy hurdles.”
“I think the government should however do even more to fight the misinformation out there that’s spreading about vaccines because we know that’s having an impact and we have to come at this hesitancy and complacency from absolutely every angle.”
The news of a COVID-19 vaccine lottery is welcome for people like Ravinder Greywall from Calgary, who just heard about the initiative as she was walking in for her second dose on Sunday.
“What? That’s pretty crazy! I think we all need it for the herd immunity so if that’s one thing that pushes people, more people to get back to the vaccine it will help us get back to normal.”
Other Calgarians like Karen Bruce also agree that a vaccine lottery is a valuable investment.
“Whatever it takes so that we can get opened up again,” Bruce said.
“I think it’s a great idea, I think it encourages people like it did in the states to get the shot and it looks like it’s working so why don’t we get those people doing it and if you can put your name in for a lottery then why not?”
According to the premier, the lottery will comprise of three $1 million prize draws among other winnings. The first draw will be open to all Albertans aged 18 and over who receive their first dose prior to reaching the 70 per cent threshold.
As of June 12, there are 64,535 appointments booked over the next seven days for first doses, which means Alberta is projected to hit the 70 per cent milestone by June 18, at which point it would be able to start then two-week countdown to a Stage 3 re-opening.
Alberta currently has 68.5 per cent of its population immunized with a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, including 19.2 per cent who are fully vaccinated with two doses.
Kenney is optimistic this new initiative will spark more interest.
“We’ve had to spend billions of dollars in our health-care system and through supporting people for the past 16 tough months so if we can just keep pushing up those numbers of people who are vaccinated, that will easily pay for itself in future savings,” Kenney said.
CTV News has reached out the premier’s office for further details on where the prize money for the lottery will be coming from, but has yet to receive a response.
Further information on how to register for the lottery is expected from the Alberta government on Monday.
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