Quebec, the Canadian province that suffered the most deaths from COVID-19, is resorting to cash and scholarships to boost its vaccination rates and weather the rise of variants.
After endorsing the idea of vaccine passports last week, the provincial government is going for a reward approach that has been used in the U.S. and elsewhere. Authorities said Friday they’re launching a lottery for vaccinated residents next month with $2 million (US$1.6 million) worth of prizes, including $400,000 in scholarships for kids from 12 to 18. One or two jabs will be required, depending on the draw.
“We’re doing all this to avoid hospitalizations if cases start going up in the fall,” Health Minister Christian Dube said during a news conference.
Authorities are urging people to move up their second-dose appointment as the more contagious delta variant gains prevalence in Canada. They’re specifically targeting adults between 18 and 34, who have been less inclined than other groups to get the vaccine.
In Quebec, 44 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, behind the national average of 48 per cent and Ontario’s 51 per cent, according to data from CTV News.
The approach is reminiscent of incentives in the U.S., where vaccine perks have ranged from food and guns to cash. In Canada, Manitoba and Alberta, two provinces that battled a surge of infection in the spring, also adopted a lottery.