The Austrian government announced a new vaccination stimulus package – including a lottery and financial rewards – in a bid to boost the national vaccination rate, The Local reported. The announcement was made at a press conference in Vienna with Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) and SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner ahead of the vote on the mandatory vaccination law (Impfpflicht) in the National Council on Thursday.
“What is there to win in the vaccination lottery? Vouchers!” Chancellor Karl Nehammer told a news conference with the leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Pamela Rendi-Wagner, with whom the measure was negotiated, Reuters reported.
The Chancellor said he wanted there to be a financial reward for those who get vaccinated.
“We have learned from the past and we have seen that a vaccination lottery is the best possible way to set up such a system,” he said.
Plans for the stimulus package include a lottery (Impflotterie) for vouchers worth €500. The scheme will be rolled out in partnership with ORF, Austria’s national public service broadcaster.
The lottery will start on March 15th to coincide with the implementation of the planned compulsory vaccination controls and will apply to people that are already vaccinated, as well as those who decide to get their first jabs.
Nehammer said every tenth vaccinated person in Austria will be in with a chance of winning a €500 gift voucher and participants would receive one lottery ticket for every Covid shot they have had. This means if someone has been vaccinated three times including the booster jab they will receive three entries into the lottery.
The vouchers will be valid for a variety of businesses across Austria, including retail, gastronomy, hotels, cultural and sports facilities, although it is expected online shopping will not be included.
The Federal Government also announced an additional financial packages for municipalities to encourage them to boost the vaccinated rate.
Nehammer provided an example of how the incentive would work and said if a municipality with 3,000 inhabitants reaches the 80 percent vaccination target, it would receive €30,000. For 85 percent it would be €60,000 and for 90 percent the amount would rise to €120,000.
The government has set aside a total of €1.4 billion for the scheme – €1 billion for the lottery and €400 million for the financial incentives for municipalities.
Nehammer described the use of government funds for the vaccination stimulus package as “completely justified”.