(LANCASTER, Calif.) — The mayor of Lancaster, California, is offering a raffle for scholarships, including a grand prize of $10,000, for teens who get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The raffle is the city’s effort to combat vaccine hesitancy among young people as the state reports declining vaccinations over the last few weeks.
For the week of April 18 to April 25, vaccinations fell by 56% in Los Angeles County, which includes Lancaster. So far 15.8% of 16 to 29-year-olds have received at least one dose of the vaccine, county data shows.
The special #10kVaxChallenge raffle, announced May 3, includes students who are between the ages of 16 and 18 and who are fully vaccinated. The deadline is June 30.
One grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship, a second prize winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship and 20 winners are eligible for the third prize — a $50 gift card.
Mayor R. Rex Parris told ABC News he created the raffle “so our community’s youth feel that much more excited and motivated to be part of ending the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He went on, “Members of the Lancaster community are all looking forward to putting this pandemic behind us, with teenagers maybe even the most excited about getting back to their ‘normal lives.’ But to get back to ‘normal’ as a community, it is up to each of us to do our part and get vaccinated. Now that safe and effective vaccines are available for our 16 to 18-year-olds, I want to help make sure Lancaster teens take advantage of the opportunity.”
There’s been an increase in teens making vaccine appointments and participating in the raffle since it launched, he noted.
“There are $16,000 in scholarship funds on the line, and I fully expect Lancaster teens to participate, tag their friends and become one of the winners to receive funding toward their future education,” Parris said.
And Parris urged conservative Republicans like himself to get the jab.
“It is the conservative Republicans who are the most vaccine-resistant. There’s a thousand reasons, I guess,” he said in an interview with ABC station KABC-TV.
To participate in the raffle, teens must post a photo of themselves on social media saying they’ve received the second vaccine, tag five friends in the post and use the hashtags “#10kVaxChallenge” and “#VaccinateLancaster.”
Teens can increase their chances of winning by getting unvaccinated friends to get the shot and alert medical staff to say they’re voting for the person who referred them, KABC-TV reported. The person with the most referrals will win the top prize.
The money will come from the mayor’s scholarship fund.
So far, Los Angeles County has fully inoculated more than 2.9 million people 16 and older, accounting for 35.8% of the population, per county data.
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