'Million Dollar Vax' Lottery Countdown Nears

Article Published: 22:11 EDT, October 25, 2021 | Updated: 22:11 EDT, October 25, 2021

An opportunity awaits vaccinated Australians to potentially win $1 million in cash by simply entering their name into a draw, but time is running out.

The Million Dollar Vax initiative was launched at the beginning of October by a collective of philanthropic individuals and businesses who aimed to expedite the vaccine rollout.

As of Tuesday this week, when the promotion commenced on October 1, approximately 55% of Australians had received both doses of the vaccine. However, this number has surged to 73.4% in recent times.

To participate in the lottery, individuals must provide their information on the website, as entries will close on Sunday, October 31. The drawing for the grand prize will take place on November 5.

In addition to the chance of winning $1 million, the campaign is also offering $1,000 gift cards and various other incentives, with a total estimated giveaway of $4.1 million.

Craig Winkler, spokesperson for the Million Dollar Vax Alliance, revealed that approximately $1.5 million worth of gift certificates have already been awarded.

According to Mr. Winkler, "The intention behind this promotion is not to persuade individuals to get vaccinated. It is a decision that should be made after consulting with a medical professional. Instead, the promotion aims to reward those who choose to get vaccinated promptly, thus reducing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our communities. By achieving higher vaccination rates nationally, above 80%, we can resume our full range of community and business activities sooner and safely."

The inspiration for the campaign came from similar initiatives held in other countries. For instance, a lottery in the state of Ohio in the United States awarded approximately $5 million in cash and prizes earlier this year. California, on the other hand, distributed multiple $1.5 million lottery prizes and $50 gift vouchers to all individuals vaccinated between May 27 and July 18, 2021.

Various companies have also joined in by providing vaccinated individuals with incentives ranging from donuts and beer to concert tickets. Airlines such as Qantas and Virgin have introduced promotions wherein vaccinated individuals can enjoy free flights, accommodations, and frequent flyer points.

Incentives like the restart of international travel in Australia's most populous states have spurred individuals to accelerate their vaccination efforts. Victoria will follow New South Wales in allowing quarantine-free arrivals from overseas beginning next month, while the federal government will open borders on November 1.

While vaccination coverage of over 80% among individuals aged 16 and above is the requirement for relaxed restrictions in Sydney and Melbourne, some states are lagging behind. Queensland and Western Australia, which have successfully avoided significant Covid-19 outbreaks, have yet to achieve a 60% vaccination rate for both doses.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison emphasized the importance of reaching 70% and 80% vaccination rates in those states to proceed to the next phase. He stated, "Increasing vaccination rates is paramount to reopening Queensland and Western Australia."

Qantas has announced its plan to resume international flights and reinstate 11,000 furloughed employees before the end of the year.

As states move toward eliminating quarantine measures, Mr. Morrison defended the government's allocation of millions of taxpayer dollars toward establishing quarantine hubs in Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane.

He announced that the facilities would serve as designated areas for individuals who have not received the vaccine upon their arrival.

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