Birmingham City Council to possibly introduce $13M COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes

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FILE – In this Wednesday, March 10, 2021 file photo, a health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 to a patient inside the convention center known as “La Nuvola”, The Cloud, in Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, file)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham City Council President William Parker will propose a possible sweepstakes plan to incentivize residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to a press release from the council, Parker will present the plan at the council’s meeting on Tuesday and will look to dish out $13 million in total. The money will come out of the city’s $141 million it received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

The plan will include two drawings of $1 million prizes, daily drawings of $10,000, one-time $500 gift cards or savings bonds for 175,000 Birmingham residents who receive their shots as well as college scholarship opportunities.

“Obviously we know there are a lot of different factors for why some people are hesitant to receive a vaccine,” President Parker said. “As elected leaders here, we must do everything possible to not only make the vaccine accessible but also encourage its use. This is a bold strategy that we think will drastically increase the number of residents wanting to receive a vaccine.”

Other states like New York and Ohio have had success in their lottery and sweepstake initiatives to get more residents vaccinated.

As of June, only 36% of residents in Birmingham have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

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