Vaccine lottery announced as Windsor-Essex leaders hope to drive up jab rate

·2 min read
Full vaccinated residents of Windsor-Essex will be eligible to win prizes in an effort to increase local vaccination rate.  (Matthias Rietschel/Reuters - image credit)
Full vaccinated residents of Windsor-Essex will be eligible to win prizes in an effort to increase local vaccination rate. (Matthias Rietschel/Reuters - image credit)

Residents who roll up their sleeves for a jab could be eligible to win one of several prizes valued at more than $200,000.

On Wednesday, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and Essex County warden Gary McNamara launched WEVaxToWin — a contest for any resident who is fully vaccinated. Starting Sept. 1, people can enter their name into a lottery system and win prizes including property tax and rental fee breaks, paid undergraduate post-secondary tuition, staycation packages and gaming consoles.

The push to get residents vaccinated, according to the local leaders, is because vaccination rates have plateaued but COVID-19 case rates are up.

Both the City of Windsor and Essex County have given $200,000 for prizes.

"We cannot afford another lockdown in this community," Dilkens said. "And $100,000 from each side is a lot of money and we recognize that but we know that the cost of sitting here, waiting and hoping things change ... is probably not the only thing that has to happen."

He added that they knew they likely need a "carrot" to offer people who are vaccine hesitant.

McNamara said they are looking at this as an "investment, not a cost," as they're hoping this initiative not only increases safety but provides an economic boost to local shops.

City of Windsor
City of Windsor

According to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, 270,450 people are fully vaccinated, which is 71.3 per cent of the eligible population.

The city and the county are also both looking toward community partners, including local businesses, to donate more prizes to the lottery.

Residents can enter online by providing:

  • Proof of residency in the City of Windsor or County of Essex.

  • Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

People can only enter the contest once and anyone who enters more than once will be disqualified.

The first draw will take place on Oct. 1 and more draws will follow at regular intervals until all prizes are handed out. Registration into the contest is available until the final draw.

A preliminary prize list includes:

  • One tuition waiver, equal to a domestic tuition for a four year BA program from the University of Windsor.

  • Two tuition grants for a full program at St. Clair College.

  • One case of craft beer per month for a year.

  • $100 gift card every month to a different local restaurant.

  • Rent allocation, where the City of Windsor agrees to pay a local renter's housing costs up to a maximum of $10,000 in the 2022 year.

  • City of Windsor parking passes and recreation passes.

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