Riders tickets, scholarships among incentives Sask. NDP suggests to help boost vaccination rates
SASKATOON -- NDP opposition leader Ryan Meili is calling on the Saskatchewan Party to revisit its position on vaccine incentives.
“We need a government that's willing even to start the conversation. What’s going to actually work to incentivize people?,” said Sasksatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili.
Saskatchewan is closing in on third and final vaccination target of the provincial government's reopening road map.
As of Monday, 69 per cent of Saskatchewan residents 18 years and older have received their first dose – one per cent shy of the 70 per cent threshold for Step Three of the plan.
University of Saskatchewan professor of epidemiology Cory Neudorf feels the province is moving too fast.
He would be more comfortable with a target of 80 to 85 per cent of the population. His model also includes children under 12, while the province’s current reopening strategy doesn’t.
“The concern is if the numbers haven’t increased higher than that 70 per cent by the time the fall hits than we’re really open to a fourth wave hitting.”
The NDP is proposing a “Last Mile Strategy,” which includes a vaccine lottery and other prizes like scholarships or Saskatchewan Roughriders tickets. The official opposition also has other elements which they feel could spur vaccine uptake, including a $25,000 vaccine lottery.
We need to be doing a better job coordinating, booking vaccines. Making it easier for people to get that vaccine,” said Meili. “Returning to that initial approach where seniors, healthcare providers, getting that phone call saying it’s time for you to get that vaccine.”
Both of Saskatchewan's neighbour provinces are running vaccine lotteries. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced a lottery over the weekend.
However, Ken Coates, a public policy professor with the University of Saskatchewan, questions if a lottery would work.
“It won’t get us as far as we really want to go, perhaps even need to go. But it is better than standing still and having people just lecture individuals and say please just go get a vaccine?”