Sussex University offers £5,000 prize for vaccinated students

A university is offering cash prizes of £5,000 to students who can prove they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, in an effort to incentivise take-up of the jab.

All students at Sussex University are being entered into a draw, con 10 winners receiving £5,000 if they can prove they are double-jabbed or are medically exempt from having the vaccine.

Prof Adam Tickell, the university’s vice-chancellor, denied the move amounted to “bribing” students to get vaccinated.

It follows the news that cheap taxi rides and discounts from the biggest takeaway companies are to be deployed by the government in a desperate effort to boost Covid vaccination rates among young people.

The car-hailing companies Uber and Bolt and the delivery service Deliveroo are involved in the scheme, which was devised after ministers became concerned that demand from younger age groups was levelling off.

The prize draw will take place at the end of November to allow students time to get vaccinated.

“We’re going to automatically enter every student in, and unless they have said they want to opt out, after we’ve given them the opportunity to have vaccines – this will be about 12 weeks after the announcement – we’ll just randomly choose 10 names,” Tickell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“If they can prove they’ve been double-vaccinated, or indeed if they are medically exempt, we’ll make them the award.”

Él agregó: “We’re not bribing them. What we’re doing is we’re just giving an incentive.”

Jade Altass-Hye, who graduated from Sussex University this summer, thinks the cash prize draw is a good idea.

“Uptake in the vaccine among students seems to be really low. I’ve been lucky to get both of mine but I think this idea is really smart.

“It’s an interesting way to spend the funding but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to help encourage people.

“I don’t know if people would think: 'Oh, I’ve got to go and get the vaccine now’ just because of the prize draw as there are other factors, but I would be entering it if I was still a student. General, I think it’s a good idea.”

Tickell agreed the prize draw may not have a massive impact on numbers choosing to get the vaccine but said it was still worth trying. “We know that many students will have already had their vaccines or are planning to. If we can boost those numbers even slightly through a simple intervention like this, then of course we are going to do so," él dijo.

“Whilst these are significant prizes for our students, the cost to the university is small compared with the human, social and financial cost if students were to experience the kind of disruption we faced last year.”

He added that the university hoped to give students an experience “as close as possible to normal” when they return after the summer, with teaching taking place in person rather than online.

The universities minister, Michelle Donelan, dicho: “Vaccines are the surest way to put Covid behind us and for students to reclaim the freedoms that enrich university life, and I encourage all eligible students to take up the offer of both vaccine doses.

“The department is encouraging universities to look at creative ways to boost uptake and to discuss the possibility of pop-up centres with local health partnersmaking it quick and easy for students to grab a jab.”

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