Albertans are expected to learn more about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine lottery early Monday afternoon.
Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro are scheduled to speak at 12:30 p.m. about the “Open for Summer Lottery” to encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Global News will live stream the announcement in this story post.
Over the weekend, the premier took to social media to share some details about the provincewide lottery.
A $1-million prize is up for grabs for any Albertan 18 or older who get at least their first dose of vaccine within a week of the day the province immunizes 70 per cent of the eligible population with one dose.
Eligibility criteria are as follows:
- You must reside in Alberta at the time of the draw
- You must be 18 or older
- You must provide proof of receiving your first dose of an approved vaccine
The province said anyone 18 and older who received their first dose outside the province is also eligible, as long as they submit proof of vaccination to AHS and meet the other criteria.
Details about how people can register for the lottery are expected to be announced Monday afternoon.
The winner will be drawn when Stage 3 of Alberta’s Open for Summer plan begins.
“Hopefully it will get a lot of those people who are kind of on the fence,” said Dr. Noel Gibney, co-chair of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association’s Strategic COVID-19 Pandemic Committee.
The doctor hopes the lottery will be repeated in August to encourage people to get their second doses. This will provide better protection against the Delta variant and avoid a fourth wave, he explained.
“It really is important that they put as much effort into getting people their second doses, as they are now putting, appropriately, into the first doses.”
Are financial incentives effective?
Dr. Bradley Ruffle is the academic director of the McMaster Decision Science Laboratory at McMaster University.
He said overall, the lottery is not a bad idea to get people to roll up their sleeves, but added it’s not the best was to push up vaccination rates.
“I think it’s a decent idea. As an economist, I certainly believe that financial incentives can change people’s behaviour, but I think it’s about the fifth-best idea you can think of to increase vaccination rates.”
He said the best idea would have been an opt-out option much earlier in the vaccination rollout.
“When the vaccines were first developed and while we were still waiting for them to be approved by Health Canada, the government already starts to begin booking appointments for every adult Canadian. So you get a phone call or a letter telling you to go to such and such a place on a specified date and time to get your first vaccine dose. You of course have the option to cancel your appointment if you really don’t want to go, but that of course requires some effort,” Ruffle explained in an interview with Shaye Ganam on 630 CHED Monday morning.
“I wouldn’t expect it to work on the anti-vaxxers who have the strong ideology, but those who are on the fence or those who are just disorganized and can’t get their act together, maybe are confused, maybe don’t know how to use the computer to book their appointment, you get it booked for you.
“The idea here is just to make it easier. I think making it easier for people would be more effective than any of these financial incentives.”
If going the lottery route, Ruffle suggests making many smaller prizes so more people can benefit from the program. One example is offering 1,000 smaller prizes of $1,000.
“It still totals up to the same $1 million in prizes, but it would be more effective. And the way to conduct such a lottery would be to have these 1,000 prizes at $1,000 each, having such a lottery every day, where, for instance, you announce 10 $1,000 prize winners publicly,” he said.
“It would be likely after a number of days that already just about every Albertan would know at least someone who has won one of these $1,000 prizes.
“It makes the lottery more real, more salient. It’s not this pie-in-the-sky one chance in almost four million to win the big prize.”
As of June 12, 68.7 per cent of eligible Albertans 12 and older had received their first dose of vaccine. The province said as of June 12, there were 64,535 first-dose vaccine appointments booked in the next seven days.
The province anticipates it will hit the 70 per cent threshold for first doses on June 18. This would trigger the start of Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan two weeks later on July 2.
Every Albertan 12 and older is eligible to receive their first dose. Anyone who received their first dose in April or earlier is now eligible to book their second dose of vaccine.
Details on how to book vaccination appointments can be found on the Alberta Health Services website.
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