Manitoba’s vaccine lottery winners will have to go public in order to claim the $100,000 prize for rolling up their sleeves.
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corp. chief executive officer Manny Atwal confirmed the winners of the upcoming Vax to Win Lottery will have their names reported publicly, as a condition of winning the draw.
"To win the prize, you will need to be acknowledged publicly," Atwal told a media briefing Tuesday.
"They don’t need to make a statement, they don't need to do publicity, but just like any lottery winner... the name is publicized."
Atwal said the condition winners cannot maintain anonymity is consistent with the regulations and practices of other lottery programs in Manitoba and is part of the licensing process.
If a winner chooses not to have their name published, they will forfeit the prize.
Through the Vax to Win Lottery nearly $2 million in cash prizes and scholarships are available to Manitobans who choose to be immunized against COVID-19. Two draws will take place later this summer.
There are six $100,000 prizes up for grabs in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and eight $100,000 prizes for the other four health regions. There are also 20 scholarships valued at $25,000 for youth ages 12 to 17.
Manitobans are automatically entered into the first draw when they receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The deadline to participate is Aug. 2, the draw will take place about three days later, Atwal said.
After a person receives their second shot of COVID-19 vaccine, they are automatically entered into the second draw. The deadline is Sept. 6; the draw will take place about three days later.
Atwal said the three-day window between the deadlines and draw dates is in place to ensure all immunizations are recorded in the province’s public health information management system.
Manitoba Health will then create an encrypted database of personal health information numbers for eligible Manitobans, which will be provided to MLL to conduct the draw. As long as person's immunization is recorded, they will be entered into the lottery, Atwal said.
Atwal said no personal health information is provided to the Crown corporation.
Rather, MLL will provide the winning encrypted numbers to Manitoba Health, which will identify and reach out to the respective individuals, who will be contacted within five days.
If that person cannot be reached after numerous attempts, the prize will be added to the September draw, Atwal said.
For scholarships, Atwal said MLL is still finalizing an agreement with a charitable organization to administer the program. Funds will be held in trust and can be used to cover the cost of attending post-secondary education, he said.
The government has not placed any conditions on the type of institution, or location, for post-secondary education the scholarship can be used toward. If the winner chooses not to attend post-secondary, or if it’s not used by the time the winner turns 20, the scholarship will be forfeited.
MLL confirmed winners of the scholarships must be identified publicly in order to claim the prize. On Tuesday, Atwal said the corporation had not considered a situation where a youth winner was vaccinated without parental or guardian consent.
NDP MLA and critic for MLL Adrien Sala flagged it as an area of concern.
"Manitobans should not have to waive their right to privacy to qualify for a government program," Sala said in a statement. "This is of particular concern for minors who might risk undue social or familial criticism if this information is made public.
"The PC government must put the privacy and protection of Manitobans ahead of their own agenda."
A spokesperson for MLL said publishing the names of winners is necessary to maintain the "transparency and integrity of the lottery."
"We can assure you that no one’s personal information will be published without appropriate, legal consent — in accordance with FIPPA and PHIA," MLL said in a statement to the Free Press. "And yes, we do acknowledge that there are sometimes rare and unique circumstances where a name should not be published."
Manitobans who want to opt out of the lottery can visit www.vaxtowin.ca.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.