Slovakia vows €2m prizes in weekly vaccination lottery

Photo: EPA

Slovakia decided to take decisive steps to spur its lagging Covid-19 vaccination programme. The country announced the launch of a weekly vaccination lottery with prizes reaching as high as two million euros. Slovakia envisages further bonuses to people who convince others to take a vaccine shot.

By Friday Slovakia has fully vaccinated only 28.7% of the population, falling behind the EU average of 32.9%, Reuters reported. Data from the country's vaccination registration process shows a declining number of people waiting for a first shot as well as a fall in daily vaccinations from a peak registered in May. The proposed initiative by the biggest ruling party, Ordinary People (OLANO), offers people the chance to participate in the lottery once after each shot. Separately, each Slovak who convinces another to get inoculated will receive a bonus between 30 and 90 euros when that person gets fully vaccinated, with the prize amount rising with the age of the vaccinated person.

"Because another wave of the pandemic can be expected in the autumn it is necessary to develop maximum effort to increase the public's interest in vaccination," authors of the proposal said in a report that backs the plan.

Governments in Europe expressed strong concerns due to the spread of the easier transmissible Delta variant, first found in India. Low vaccination rates increase the risk of a resurgence of the virus in the parts of populations that are not protected.

More transmissible viruses not only increase the pace of an epidemic's spread but also the threshold needed for the population to be protected by collective immunity.

From 9 July the Slovak government will require unvaccinated people to quarantine upon arrival from anywhere abroad, with exemptions for people commuting for work and children aged 12 to 18, who have a deadline until 9 August to get vaccinated. From July non-vaccinated people also must take a PCR test when attending public events like weddings.

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