Is Kenney bribing Albertans with the vaccine lottery?

Brendan Alan has been fully vaccinated for a few months now because he’s an EMT and says he is disappointed that people have to be bribed to do the right thing and get vaccinated. (Photo by Michaela Pitman/The Press)

It’s summer in Alberta and Premier Jason Kenney just wants us to be able to enjoy it without risking another COVID-19 outbreak, and he’s willing to engage in bribery to get there. 

On Monday, June 14, Premier Jason Kenney announced that Alberta will be launching a COVID-19 vaccine lottery in an attempt to get more Albertans vaccinated.  

“We need everyone on the fence, those who want to get a shot but have just been putting it off for a while, to get their dose now,” he said. 

As of June 16, 3,583,406, doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta. At press, 69.9 per cent of Albertans age 12+ have at least one dose and 24.2 per cent of Albertans age 12+ have been fully vaccinated.  

Anyone who has been fully vaccinated will be able to enter the lottery for a chance to win one of three separate $1-million prizes, as well as additional incentives such as travel packages. 

“There always will be some who will never get a vaccine of any kind. No fact and no plea to civic responsibility will sway them,” Kenney said. 

How does the average Calgarian feel about this lottery?  

Paramedic Brendan Alan is appalled and disappointed that Alberta has to resort to a lottery in order to sway citizens to do the right thing.  

“If I were to just boil it down to something, I think it’s bribery, which is Jason Kenney’s solution to everything,” said Alan.  

As a paramedic, Alan was fully vaccinated in the early stages of the vaccine roll-out. He says that he will enter the lottery just because he can. But he is highly disappointed that others have to be bribed to do the right thing.  

Local Calgary resident and engineer Sarah Atkin feels differently. She has not been fully vaccinated and she does not plan to do so until there is more research done on the sideeffects of the vaccine.  

Atkin suffers from an autoimmune disease that she has had to live with for 15 years. She will not risk getting vaccinated right now, not even for the chance to win $1-million.  

“If you try to bribe people with a lottery, cars, beer money and all this, it makes me question things,” said Atkin.  

 Valentina Jimenez, a waitress at Ikuza restaurant in Bridgeland, says that at first, she was skeptical of the vaccine but she got vaccinated anyway a month ago because it felt like the right thing to do.  

Travel plans: Jimenez will get fully vaccinated because she can’t wait for life to go back to normal and so that she can travel abroad once again. (Photo by Michaela Pitman/The Press)

“It doesn’t motivate me to be honest. I know we need this vaccine to get back to normal,” Jimenez said.  

One thing Jimenez can’t wait to do again is travel internationally. That’s motivation enough for her.  

But for those Albertans who don’t have that kind of motivation, Kenney hopes the chance to win $1 million will override their resistance. Vaccination rates have increased and hospital numbers are coming down and if people do continue to get vaccinated Alberta will be open for summer.

About Michaela Pitman 7 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Michaela Pitman is working as a writer for The Press during the 2021 academic year.