Poland dangles lottery jackpot to boost COVID vaccination drive

People walk in the city centre as the country's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions eased, in Warsaw, Poland May 15, 2021. Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta/via REUTERS/File Photo

WARSAW, May 25 (Reuters) - Poland will launch a lottery with prizes of as much as 1 million zlotys ($273,000) to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the minister in charge of the immunisation programme said on Tuesday.

Michal Dworczyk said that although 69% of Poles have declared they want to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, the biggest challenge was making sure they do it.

"We are carrying out another advertising campaign ... we have sports people involved, we have actors involved, influencers involved," Dworczyk told a news conference.

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"Alongside these traditional forms... we are adding this extra proposal."

The competition will be run with the aid of state-owned companies and lottery operator Totalizator Sportowy.

Every 2,000th person taking part in the lottery will win 500 zlotys, with two participants winning one million zlotys and a hybrid car.

Municipalities will also be encouraged to compete to get the highest vaccination rates, with the first 500 to reach a rate of 75% being awarded 100,000 zlotys.

The vaccination lottery follows a competition in June which offered fire engines to small municipalities that registered high turnout in the 2020 presidential election. This initiative met with criticism from opposition politicians, who called it thinly veiled vote-buying. [nL8N2DX06}

($1 = 3.6587 zlotys)

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Reporting by Alan Charlish and Pawel Florkiewicz, editing by Ed Osmond

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