Scholarships and a cash lottery - the Manitoba government plans to make it rain this summer for a small number of vaccinated people.
The province announced the creation of the Manitoba Vaccination Lottery June 9, with almost $2 million up for grabs in the form of random cash rewards and scholarships for people who have received a dose.
The lottery system will involve two draws, with the first done August 2 and the second taking place Sept. 6 All Manitobans age 12 and up who have at least a first dose by the draw date will be automatically eligible for the first draw, while the second draw will be open for all Manitobans who have both doses by the second draw date.
Those draws will each include $100,000 prizes for people throughout the province - three prizes in Winnipeg and one prize each for the other Manitoba health regions, including the Northern Health Region (NHR).
Also included in both draws will be 10 scholarships for vaccinated youths ages 12-17 - each scholarship will be worth $25,000.
The lottery and scholarship program was announced in a June 9 press conference by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, who said the program is meant to promote vaccinations throughout the province.
“Vaccines are our way out of this third wave and out of this pandemic. Vaccines are how we get our lives back in the short term and in the long term. We need Manitobans to get vaccinated,” said Pallister, who added he would get his second dose of Pfizer vaccine June 10.
“The sooner we get vaccinated, the faster we beat COVID-19, the faster we can protect one another, the faster we can protect our health care system and the faster we can get our freedoms back, which we will never take for granted again.”
The lottery will be administered by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MLL). MLL president and CEO Manny Atwal joined Pallister at the June 9 press conference and spoke about the project, saying it would be handled in a similar way to existing MLL programs.
“Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries has a strong and well-deserved reputation for conducting trusted, efficient and fair gaming services. We’re going to bring those same principles to Manitoba’s vaccination lotteries as well,” said Atwal.
“We’re going to bring those same principles to Manitoba’s vaccination lottery as well. We will apply the same exacting standards to ensure a fair lottery process that supports this very important vaccine campaign.”
Manitobans vaccinated out of province will be eligible for the lottery, but only after reporting their immunization to the province at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling their local public health office. The province has not provided an answer for whether out-of-Manitoba residents - like Saskatchewan residents in Creighton or Denare Beach - who were vaccinated in Manitoba would be eligible. Saskatchewan has not announced a vaccination lottery program as of June 9.
People who are working on administrating the lottery, as well as Manitoba MLAs, will not be eligible to win. People who wish to not take part in the lottery can opt out of the program, according to the province, but exactly how that can be done was not part of the June 9 announcement.
At least half of all eligible people in every health district within the NHR have received at least one vaccine dose, including 67 per cent of people within the Flin Flon/Snow Lake/Cranberry Portage/Sherridon health district. In Flin Flon, first and second vaccine doses can be booked by calling 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) provided people meet current vaccine eligibility.