Would you get vaccinated against COVID-19 for a shot at a year’s worth of free college tuition?
That’s what Eastern Washington University will offer students heading into the upcoming school year through what Interim President David May announced Thursday as the “EagsVaxUp” program.
As part of the initiative, the university will hold drawings throughout the spring and summer. Incoming and continuing students, as well as faculty and staff who upload proof of their vaccinations to the Med+Proctor system, will be eligible for a number of prizes, May said.
One lucky student will receive a one-year tuition waiver .
“Given the expectation that everyone in the Eastern community that can be vaccinated will be vaccinated before we return in the fall, Eastern wants to help to make that happen,” said May, who announced the program during Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting.
Other prizes will include food and dining packages, reductions in on-campus housing costs and gifts related to on- and off-campus events. Drawings will be done every week, May said.
“Even if you already got your vaccination, if you upload your data into Med+Proctor, you’ll be eligible for these drawings,” he said.
May said more information will be released early next week.
The announcement comes a few days after Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed legislation that theoretically could have prevented businesses and governments from offering incentives to convince people to get COVID-19 vaccinated.
The contest drawings are just part of the three-pronged “EagsVaxUp” approach to promoting vaccinations to the EWU community, May said.
May said the first step is increasing awareness to the safety, efficacy and ease of vaccinations by having campus and community leaders work with students, faculty and staff.
“We want everyone to understand the benefits that come along with vaccination,” he said. “The ability to sit down with someone and not wear a mask feels a little naughty, but it also feels pretty good.”
The university will also continue to work to provide “easy access to vaccines,” May said. EWU is working with a community health care partner to set up another on-campus vaccination clinic – this time, with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“That’s probably not the last time we’ll do it, but we’re working to get that done before the end of finals week,” May said.
EWU’s incentive program is the latest in a trend of similar efforts across the country to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday the “Vax and Scratch” program, offering a free scratch-off lottery ticket for a chance to win $5 million. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, meanwhile, is offering vaccinated residents a chance to win $1 million lottery prizes and college scholarships, according to the Washington Post.