Manitoba launches nearly $2M lottery to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations

This story will be updated when the press conference begins and throughout the conference as it runs.

Manitoba hopes to spur COVID-19 vaccination through a lottery offering nearly $2 million in cash and scholarships to those who roll up their sleeve for the shots.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries CEO Manny Atwal announced the lottery Wednesday morning.

Read more: COVID-19: Fully vaccinated Manitobans to get secure immunization card

“Vaccination is the fastest way to overcome COVID-19 and safely restore our services and activities,” said Pallister in a release.

“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.”

Click to play video: 'What the Manitoba vaccination card means for fully vaccinated residents' 3:06 What the Manitoba vaccination card means for fully vaccinated residents

What the Manitoba vaccination card means for fully vaccinated residents

Pallister said the province plans on holding two lottery draws over the summer, and all Manitobans aged 12 and up who have received at least one dose of vaccine on or before Aug. 2 will be eligible for the first draw.

The second draw will be open to everyone 12 and up who’ve received two doses on or before Sept. 6.

The province says each lottery draw will award:

  • 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.

All Manitobans who have been immunized with either a first or second dose are automatically entered into the lottery for a chance to win, and Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries will be responsible for running the contests, Atwal said. A third-party auditor will provide additional oversight, he added.

“Trust and accountability are an integral part of every lottery, and we will ensure that all Manitobans can have confidence in the fairness and integrity of this process,” said Atwal.

“As we have seen in other jurisdictions, lotteries can act as an incentive to encourage vaccination. We are proud of our role in the goal to get as many Manitobans immunized as quickly as possible.”

Read more: 2nd dose vaccine eligibility expands, 2 new deaths linked to Alpha COVID-19 variant

On Tuesday Pallister announced his government was launching a new secure immunization card confirming full immunization against COVID-19 that will allow those with two shots to travel within Canada without quarantining on their return and enjoy expanded visits at hospitals and personal care homes.

Pallister left open the possibility of using the cards to also determine access to major sporting events, museums and other facilities. He said there would be more details on what big-crowd events might be allowed later this week, when his Progressive Conservative government announces its pandemic reopening plan.

Manitoba reached a vaccination milestone on Tuesday, when two-thirds of people aged 12 and up had received at least one dose.

But a provincial website tracking vaccination shows some parts of the province have been more hesitant than others to roll up their sleeves.

Read more: Manitoba church could face up to $1 million fine for COVID violations

The vaccination rate in southern Manitoba, for example is 47 per cent. In the RM of Stanley less than 15 per cent of the eligible population has gotten a shot.

–With files from The Canadian Press

More to come.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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