Roll up, roll up: Russia set to organize Covid-19 lottery with cash prizes of around $1,300 to encourage vaccination against virus

Roll up, roll up: Russia set to organize Covid-19 lottery with cash prizes of around $1,300 to encourage vaccination against virus

Millions of Russians will have the chance to win 100,000 rubles ($1,361) each after the government approved the launch of a lottery scheme for those who are prepared to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

The move comes as part of a response to the slow take-up of Covid-19 jabs in the world’s largest country. This has been despite the fact that Moscow registered the world’s first vaccine against the infection, over a year ago now, and that doses are widely available, and free of charge, across Russia.

On Wednesday, officials unveiled the rules for the cash prize initiative, approved by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, which is due to span from the beginning of September until December 1. The raffle will be open to all, as long as they are inoculated against Covid, over the age of 18 and are on the Unified Register of Vaccinated.

Each winner will be randomly picked by a computer algorithm, with 1,000 lucky Russians able to receive a cash prize.

Commenting on the innovative venture, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova expressed that “by launching the program to reward the vaccinated, the Government thus expresses its gratitude to citizens who have shown they are conscientious, have taken care of their health and protected their loved ones.”

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FILE PHOTO. University Hospital in Nitra, Slovakia. © Reuters / Radovan Stoklasa
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The Goznak Joint Stock Company will operate the draw, and the results will be posted on the 'bonuszazdorovye' lottery website, as well as in the media. Winners will be alerted by push notifications and the Unified Portal of State and Municipal Services.

Money won in the competition will be paid to prizewinners within six months of the draw date and can only be claimed through the national Mir banking system.

Russia is not the first country to award its citizens for coming forward and getting vaccinated. In July, Slovakia announced plans to offer weekly cash prizes of up to €2 million in a bid to boost inoculation rates in the country. Meanwhile, Hong Kong has offered its citizens Tesla cars, luxury hotel stays and even an apartment.

According to government data, just over 28% of Russia’s population has received one shot of a coronavirus vaccine, while nearly 23% are fully inoculated.

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