The mayor of Lancaster, Mayor R. Rex Parris, is specifically targeting those aged between 16 and 18 after reports of ‘vaccine hesitancy’ among the age group.
Data for Los Angeles County show just 15.8% of 16 to 29-year-olds have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Overall, the county has fully inoculated more than 2.9 million people 16 and older, accounting for 35.8% of the population, according to county data.
The June 30th deadline will see one grand prize winner in the #10kVaxChallenge receive the $10,000 scholarship.
The second prize winner will receive the $5,000 scholarship with a further 20 winners eligible for a $50 gift card.
The money will come from the mayor’s scholarship fund.
To participate in the raffle, teens need to post a photo of themselves on social media stating that they have received the second jab using hashtags ‘#10kVaxChallenge’ and ‘#VaccinateLancaster.’
‘Our community’s youth feel that much more excited and motivated to be part of ending the COVID-19 pandemic,’ Mayor R. Rex Parris explained to ABC News as to why he created the raffle.
‘Members of the Lancaster community are all looking forward to putting this pandemic behind us, with teenagers maybe even the most excited about getting back to their ‘normal lives.’
‘But to get back to ‘normal’ as a community, it is up to each of us to do our part and get vaccinated. Now that safe and effective vaccines are available for our 16 to 18-year-olds, I want to help make sure Lancaster teens take advantage of the opportunity.
‘There are $16,000 in scholarship funds on the line, and I fully expect Lancaster teens to participate, tag their friends and become one of the winners to receive funding toward their future education,’ Parris said.
So far, the incentive appears to be working with an increase in the number of teens making vaccine appointments and taking part in the raffle since it launched.
Parris also noted that it is conservative Republicans who are most hesitant when it comes to getting the jab.
‘It is the conservative Republicans who are the most vaccine-resistant. There’s a thousands reasons, I guess,’ he said to KABC.
Other states are also coming up with schemes to encourage younger members of society to get inoculated.
The state is hoping the savings bond will entice people aged between 16 and 35, who are responsible for more than a quarter of cases despite making up just 21 per cent of the population, to get their shot.
The demographic has been eligible to get the vaccine since March but has been comparatively slow in getting inoculated with just 31 per cent of 16 to 35-year-olds receiving the shot. So far, half of West Virginia‘s 1.8 million residents have received at least one shot.
In a press briefing last week, Gov. Jim Justice said he is aiming to get more than 70 percent of the state’s eligible population vaccinated, which he could exceed if about 80 percent of the state’s 380,000 16 to 35-year-olds get vaccinated.
‘If we really want to move the needle, we’ve got to get our young people vaccinated,’ he said, noting they are ‘not taking vaccines as fast as we’d like them to take them.’
‘Our kids today probably don’t really realize just how important they are in shutting this thing down,’ Justice said. ‘I’m trying to come up with a way that’s going to motivate them – and us – to get over the hump.’
Those who have already received their COVID vaccines will also get a $100 savings bond retroactively.
The suppliers of the vaccines say their injections are highly effective among teens, early clinical trial data shows.
In the TeenCOVE study, including children ages 12 to 17, the two-dose Moderna shot was 96 percent effective.
The results are in line with the 94 percent efficacy Moderna showed among adults in its December 2020 trial.
However, despite the promising findings, some parents are reluctant to get their children vaccinated.