Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has announced a lottery for vaccinated Albertans. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has announced a lottery for vaccinated Albertans. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Our View: If a lottery would help promote vaccines, why not hold one?

Getting to 80 per cent vaccinations could be easier with a couple million-dollar prizes

Albertans who got at least one shot in their arm will soon be eligible to enter a vaccination sweepstakes – there’s three $1-million prizes to be won.

It’s a response to Alberta’s flagging interest in first vaccinations, which has caught up with the province. Manitoba is also launching its own lottery, after both provinces had among the worst third waves per capita in Canada.

Here at home in B.C., Premier John Horgan didn’t rule out the possibility of a lottery, but said that we can meet our targets without one.

Two key points about this:

1) Perhaps we can meet our main goals without a lottery, but if a lottery helps us exceed those goals, or meet them faster, or can penetrate into regions or age groups or social clusters that have thus far been resistant to vaccinations, why not hold a draw?

2) C’mon, we want to dream about winning the lottery! We’ve been good, we distanced, we masked, we lined up six feet apart, and then we eagerly got our shots and took selfies and encouraged everyone else to get their shots! We did all of that for our own safety, for the safety of our families and friends, and because of our solidarity with our fellow British Columbians. We didn’t expect a reward!

But if someone was to offer us a cool million for our troubles, haven’t we earned it?

READ MORE: Vaccine lottery – Manitobans eligible for cash, scholarships if they get a COVID shot

We are in the least awful phase, so far, of the pandemic – the one where things look better every week, hospitalizations are dropping, cases are cratering, society is re-opening and we can feel safer and more hopeful than we have in more than a year.

This is no time for governments to be puritanical. While most areas of B.C. are well-covered by the vaccination campaign, there are remaining pockets where vaccinations are markedly lower. Reaching out in multiple ways can help bridge those gaps and find people who are not paranoid conspiracy theorists, but who just need a little more incentive to show up, roll up their sleeves, and get the shot.

If lotteries, or free beer, or hockey tickets, or camping passes – or whatever the government can think of to hand out – helps us meet and exceed our vaccination targets, and lets us have a good time, why not?

It has been a long, long year and a half. We’re not out of the pandemic, but we can see the end from here. Why not let us dream about winning big, too?

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