Albertans who receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine before the province reaches the 70 per cent milestone for first-dose immunizations will be eligible to win $1 million.
In a Twitter video Saturday evening, Premier Jason Kenney announced the lottery as an incentive to reach the threshold, which is needed to transition in the third and final stage of the province’s reopening plan.
“We’re not getting enough demand right now,” Kenney said in the video.
He was standing inside the Edmonton Expo Centre, one of the province’s drop-in immunization centres, on Saturday afternoon, and said no one was turning up for a shot.
“Alberta residents over the age of 18 who have received at least one dose of vaccine can register to be entered in the draw for the $1 million dollar prize,” the province said in a news release following Kenney’s tweet.
While Kenney wasn’t clear in his video, the premier’s office later clarified that anyone over 18 would qualify. Any Albertan who received their first shot outside the province is also eligible, provided they’ve submitted proof of their vaccine to Alberta Health Services, and meet all other criteria.
The government said in order to qualify, people must be over the age of 18, reside in Alberta at the time of the draw, and be able to provide proof of having received their shot before the draw.
In the news release, Kenney said the lottery would help Alberta reach the 70 per cent benchmark, “so we can open, and stay open.”
“Albertans have already responded in such a big way to our vaccine program and we’ve been able to lift many health restrictions because of their efforts,” he said.
“We just need one final push so we can lift them all and get back to normal. If you’ve been waiting to book, or you’ve been looking for a reason get the shot, here it is.”
As of Saturday, 68.5 per cent of those eligible had received their first dose of vaccine, and 19.2 per cent of Albertans aged 12 and over were fully immunized with two doses.
The premier’s office said with 64,535 first-dose appointments booked in the next seven days, it’s expected the province will reach the 70 per cent mark on June 18, starting the two-week countdown to Stage 3.
In his video, Kenney said the draw for the first $1-million prize will be made on the day the province launches Stage 3 of the Open for Summer plan, “to celebrate getting life back to normal.”
The premier said more details will come in the days ahead on how to enter the lottery online, as well as the second and third $1-million draws to happen later in the summer.
Kenney says province looking at incentives for COVID-19 vaccines
“You know that many places around the world have launched similar lotteries like this because we need to just nudge those who haven’t gotten around to getting their vaccines yet,” Kenney said in the video.
“After all, we’ve had to spend billions of dollars in our health-care system and through supporting people through 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 by offering this Open for Summer lottery.
“So please do your part. Because now, a vaccine shot is also your shot at $1 million.”
The premier’s office said details on how to register for the first lottery prize will be announced on Monday, June 14.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.