Health officials in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have asked the Cabinet to consider a lottery, phone card giveaway, and shopping discounts for persons who are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Acting Prime Minister Montgomery Daniel said that the health officials floated the idea to Cabinet on Thursday.
“And with all of this, the Cabinet would have pondered on these and so would have, by and large, accepted the recommendations coming forward,” Daniel said on Star FM, a radio station owned by the ruling Unity Labour Party.
Some 13,000 persons have taken at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, about one-quarter of the 50,000 that the government had hoped to vaccinate by now.
Daniel said that in an effort to address vaccine hesitancy, the Ministry of Health will be conducting a vaccine reintroduction campaign.
“The ministry feels that there must be new outreach programmes to assist in this regard. And in so, they have offered to the Cabinet an incentivising programme where a lottery can be established and that is, the lottery can be done in two phases, when the first 30,000 are vaccinated that they can be beneficial in this regard, and two, when the full 50,000 persons are vaccinated, that a second lottery can be drawn and they, too, can benefit in this regard.”
Daniel spoke of a lottery about five days after commentator, chartered accountant, and vaccine advocate Stephen Joachim floated the idea on WE FM.
Joachim said that businesses in SVG could pool resources and have a US$1 million lottery for vaccinated persons.
He suggested a draw for US$400,000 when 35,000 people are vaccinated and a draw for US$1 million when 50,000 people take the jab.
Under Joachim’s proposal, those who are among the first 35,000 to take the jab will get two chances to win as they would be included in both draws.
“They are also looking at where phone cards can be given to vaccinated individuals going forward and they are also looking at the fact that services from both private and public sector entities that they can benefit in this regard.
“In other words, if you are totally vaccinated, wherever you turn up for a service at any entity, let’s say you go to the supermarket, you can have that arrangement with the supermarket where you can have a discount on items being purchased. And so there are some of the new initiatives that the ministry has recommended.”
He said that the Ministry of Health is aware “of the fact that once you are fully vaccinated, then a space can be carved out in this regard.
“Let’s take for instance, within the tourism industry, where you have staff being vaccinated at the hotels and the like and where you have visitors who are fully vaccinated, this is, indeed a different story and the Ministry of Health can carve out this space once individuals are fully vaccinated,” Daniel said.