Corporations, Philanthropists Fund $1 Million Cash Prize for Australia’s COVID Vaccine Scheme

October 2, 2021 Updated: October 2, 2021

A million dollar prize is for grabs for one Australian as part of a new initiative dubbed the “Million Dollar Vax campaign.”

The campaign will give away $4.1 million worth of prizes, with the big ticket item of $1 million in cash drawn on Nov. 5.

Some 3,100 gift cards worth $1,000 each will also be drawn throughout October.

Funded by philanthropists and corporations, the campaign aims to boost national vaccination rates above 80 percent, a key reopening target under the national plan.

Craig Winkler of the Million Dollar Vax Alliance says it is not designed to convince vaccine hesitant Australians to get the jab.

“The promotion simply seeks to reward people who decide to be vaccinated now rather than waiting, so that we can reduce the community impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

“The aim is to accelerate Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program in a safe way throughout the month of October.

“The faster we reach higher vaccination rates nationally, higher than 80 percent, the sooner we all can safely resume our full range of community and business activity.”

Australia’s vaccination rates have soared in recent months as supply issues eased, with 79 percent of the 16-plus population having received at least a first dose and 56 percent double dosed.

The federal government had been considering incentives to encourage Australians to get the jab before lockdown-inducing outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant in NSW and Victoria.

The initiative is inspired by the Ohio ‘Vax-A-Million’ campaign, and Philanthropy Australia chief executive Jack Heath hopes their version will “save lives, ease the burden on healthcare workers, and benefit the wider community.”

All Australian adults are eligible to enter the competition online, as long as they’ve received a first dose on or before Oct. 31.

Prizes will only be dished out to those fully vaccinated by Dec. 13, six weeks after the cut-off date.

By Callum Godde in Melbourne