Million-dollar giveaways. Vacation packages. And yes, even free marijuana.
States are getting creative, to say the least, when it comes to enticing adults to get a COVID-19 vaccine. For the under-18 crowd, the incentives are more PG but no less potentially life-changing. They’re getting a shot at thousands of dollars in scholarships.
States are trying to buoy interest in vaccinations with an eye on economic recovery and a return to normalcy, including for school reopenings in the fall. But children 12 to 17 have some catching up to do when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination rates.
Colorado is hoping to get more youngsters vaccinated by opening a drawing for 25 scholarships worth $50,000 each. In his announcement of the first five scholarship winners, Gov. Jared Polis called inoculation “our ticket for students to return to the classroom.”
“It will certainly bring the rate of contracting COVID down, but also it makes sure that students who are returning to their middle school or high school will not be passing it along,” says Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. “If we can do that at the high school level, when they’re on their way [to college], hopefully by then on college campuses it won’t be a big deal.”
She paused for a moment to reflect on the magnitude of the scholarships.